Category Archives: Photos

Time to Say No ! Poems for Malala Yousafzai

Journalists and writers from Brazil, Austria, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, India, Bulgaria, Iran, Norway, Pakistan, Ireland, China, Estonia, Mexico and Vietnam, among others, participate in “Time to say No!”, An anthology  by Helmuth Niederle and Philo Ikonya, writers and editors.

Malala Yousafzai

Philo Ikonya and Helmuth Niederle have produced a book of over two hundred multilingual poems and protests themed in our ability as writers to refuse violence against girls like Malala who have sought with passion to be educated. The book will be launched on the 7th and 8th of March 2013 to coincide with international Women’s Day 2013.

Our sincere thanks to the Irish writers who participated and to Philo and Helmuth who have made the text available in pdf via a public drop-box link.

This link will lead readers to the words of contributors aged 11-80 who desire to support the education of girls and to protest the shooting of a child.

  • The right to education is a universal human right. It is a basic right which fosters and guarantees democracy founded on constitutional legality. This is independent of and not based on or limited by gender
  • Time to say No ! Poems for Malala Yousafzai 

PEN International website, and introducing PEN women writers at the Diversity blog.

Quite recently PEN International upgraded their website , with a new structure and media centre,   all the usual PEN  links for those who wish read on issues of advocacy and freedom of speech are carried on the new site. The whole encompasses a variety of interests for our Irish PEN members, who will be interested in the work of our international affiliates across mutual areas of concern such as, The Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, the Writers in Prisons Committee, the Women Writer’s Committee and Diversity. I am adding here the link to the PEN International landing page for our members and associates.


The  IPWWC , the International PEN Women Writer’s Committee.

The Women Writers’ Committee was set up in 1991 to promote certain issues faced by women writers around the world – challenges at family and national levels such as unequal education, unequal access to resources and actual prohibition from writing.

The committee reaches out to both aspiring and practising women writers through PEN Centres and other organisations and networks, and works with the Writers in Prison Committee on behalf of incarcerated or endangered women writers.

Representatives from the committee attend meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The committee has held conferences in countries such as Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Senegal, and has published special newsletters. It uses Facebook to connect the work of women writers to the world. “

The Diversity Blog was launched on the 12/01/2012 and is encouraging women writers to contribute in creative areas ,like translation, poetry and literature. The information and contacts are carried at  this link.  More than ever social-media outlets like Facebook are contributing to new connections between women writers.  PEN International is facilitating these contacts across a variety of platforms which include Websites, Facebook and Twitter. There are currently two discussion groups for members and associates of PEN available on the Facebook platform, the PEN International discussion group (231 members) and the PEN International group of writers sharing opinions and texts.

Members can choose to contribute to these above-mentioned groups , or to link up with their international colleagues through sites like Diversity. Irish PEN has a Facebook account where queries regarding social-media can be sent by direct-messaging, alternatively contacts can be addressed to the Irish PEN  addresses, which I am linking  below here.


Useful Irish PEN Contacts

Irish PEN Phone Number087 966 0770

Irish PEN Email

Hugo Hamilton's reading

Irish PEN was delighted to host a reading by Hugo Hamilton last month. The renowned author read from his new book Hand in the Fire. He spoke of the challenges of fictionalising and noted the theme of the outsider and acceptance within a culture recurs in his work. We learned too that the wonderful photo of the little boy concentrating with great determination, finger pointing at the text, on the cover of The Speckled People is none other than himself as a youngster.

Hugo Hamilton reading from Hand in the Fire at Irish PEN

'I see you dancing, Brendan'

Words by Joe Armstrong, Photo by Caroline Brady

Senator David Norris, Anne Hartigan and Brendan Kennelly, recipient of the Irish PEN lifetime achievement award for literature

Senator David Norris, Anne Hartigan and Brendan Kennelly, recipient of the Irish PEN lifetime achievement award for literature

Brendan Kennelly is probably the best-loved figure in Irish public life, said Senator David Norris, speaking at the Irish PEN award ceremony on Friday 29th January 2010.  He described Kennelly as one of the world’s greatest teachers. In a funny and entertaining speech that had the captive audience at the Royal St George Yacht Club laugh loud and often, he revered Kennelly for imagining himself in poetic form inside the mind of Cromwell, his nation’s bitterest enemy, and Judas. To the appreciation of those gathered, he quoted from one of Brendan’s acclaimed poems ‘I See You Dancing, Father’ which ends: ‘Whatever happens or cannot happen/In the time I have to spare/I see you dancing, father.’

He thanked Brendan on behalf of Irish PEN for all that he has done to enrich our lives. ‘You have been my teacher, my mentor, my advisor. It is a great privilege to be here presenting this award, in this most distinguished company of your peers, your fellow artists. It is appropriate that you should receive this. You are a brilliant poet.’

‘I can’t say how honoured I am. It’s an amazing award,’ said Brendan Kennelly of the Irish PEN accolade. He peppered his softly lilted twenty-minute speech with several recitations of poetry in English and Irish. He recited poems from memory, such as Kavanagh’s ‘The Dawning of the Day’ first in Irish and then in English. He recounted a tale of Kavanagh asking someone for a large whiskey and then a fiver. He then asked for another large whiskey and another fiver. He continued in this vein, requesting whiskey and fivers until eventually the other man said No and Kavanagh, twinkle in eye, called him stingy. All who heard Brendan speak and recite felt honoured to be there, privileged to share the moment. It was like what a sacrament is meant to be: a recreation anew of eternal truths of humanity. The priest: Kennelly. The liturgy: the poetry.


Roddy Doyle who was awarded the Irish PEN Award for Literature
Last year, Roddy Doyle was the popular winner of the Irish PEN award for literature in January 2009.

Fintan O'Toole of The Irish Times gave a terrific speech, as did Irish PEN Award winner Roddy Doyle

L to R: Caroline Brade, Amanda Brunker and, seated, Vanessa O'Loughlin, enjoying the Irish PEN Award & dinner

Ruth and Joe Armstrong & Suzanne O’Leary at the Irish PEN dinner 2009

Fiona Price, Caroline O’Connell, Pamela Brady, Neil Jordan, Fidelma Kelly, Caroline Brady.

Maeve Binchy wins Irish PEN AT Cross Award for Literature

Novelist Maeve Binchy proved a popular recipient for this year’s Irish Pen AT Cross Award for literature. Presented with the award at a sell-out dinner in the Royal St George Yacht Club on January 19th, she expressed delight at such recognition from her peers. She also promised that on her future visits to bookshops she will ensure that the books of all those present were face out in a prominent position – Booksellers be warned!
An appreciative audience agreed with Declan Kiberd, presenting the award, when he said that “most of [Maeve Binchy’s] stories are about the pangs of adjustment- of what happens to a society that was once God-fearing and traditional when it takes on the messy complexities of the secular,modern world,” adding that hers wasn’t a fake nostalgia for a lost world but “a brave sense that the new challenges are bracing and that good people will find in themselves the resources to meet them”. While never confining her material to Ireland, she has seen it as a test case for the modern world-and the wider world acclaimed her accordingly.
Lively Celebrations continued well on into the small hours – keep visiting this site because we should have some photos to post soon.

1907- 2007 Centenary of The United Arts Club
Irish Pen offers its congratulations to The United Arts Club, its chairman and members on the centenary of the club which was founded in 1907. Over the past century it has provided a wonderful place for artists and writers to meet. For a full list of regular art exhibitions and events which take place throughout the year visit :