Category Archives: Uncategorized

New poetry by Nedim Türfent

The latest issue of Kalliope X Magazine features four poems from former imprisoned writer and honorary PEN member Nedim Türfent, written when he was still unfairly detained. The poems are translated by Hidayet Ceylan & Matt Hetherington. Please read and share widely:

Nedim Türfent is a poet, journalist and editor at https://bianet.org. His first poetry book Bird Mirror was published in Turkey in 2021. In 2022, his book of poems and writings Über Mauern was published in Germany. He is an honorary member of PEN Melbourne.

Ukrainian Culture Under Attack

Ukrainian Journalist, Editor and Interviewer Natalya Kornyienko writes in the Irish Independent how a single Russian airstrike destroyed thousands of books waiting to be shipped to Kyiv for a book festival there. In a brilliant, original act of resistance, the publishers will bring the charred remains of books to a stand in that festival instead. Read Natalya’s story here.

Some of the interviews in that book have previously been published online on this website (See Chytomo Interviews, below)

Belfast Book Festival: writing to writers at risk or in prison

Your letters set me free. Your postcards broke my chains (Enoh Meyomesse – poet, Cameroon)

Join Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann throughout the Festival to write to writers who are at risk or in prison because of their work. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to write a few words of encouragement and solidarity to these people and/or their families.

PEN Friends chooses recipients from the PEN International Case list. Please find below selected writers’ information.

Forgottenness … a novel by Tanja Maljartschuk

To mark the 2nd anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we are posting a link to a review of Tanja’s novel in English on Chytomo

Forgottenness will be launched in Ireland on 7th March at 6:30 p.m. in The Gutter Bookshop. Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar.

“Culture in a Time of War” event at the RIA

Dublin Book Festival

Report by Natalya Kornienko for Chytomo.

This event was sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature in association with Dublin City Council. It was dedicated to the memory of Victoria Amelina, who was scheduled to appear on the panel before she was killed, along with 12 other people, by a Russian Missile strike on a pizza restaurant in Kramatorsk, Ukraine (27th June, 2023)

Victoria Amelina wins Chytomo Special Jury prize (posthumously)

Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who was well known to the PEN International community, a member of PEN Ukraine and a friend of Irish PEN, received a Special Jury Award (posthumously) from Chytomo. The Award ceremony, recognising outstanding achievements in publishing, was held on 2nd November 2023.

Victoria Amelina (1986-2023)

Victoria won her award “For continuing to connect people and communities through many unseen bridges, and for creating opportunities and pathways that continue to guide the Ukrainian cultural community forward.” https://chytomo.com/en/chytomo-award-announced-winners/

The Light of Home: Ukraine and Ireland. A Celebration of Ukrainian and Irish Culture – Dublin Book Festival

Saturday, 11th November 2023, 8 p.m.

Venue: Townhall, 1WML, Windmill Quarter

Join us for a special evening of music and readings featuring Irish and Ukrainian writers Iryna Starovoyt, Olha Mukha, Tetyana Teren, Thérèse Kieran, Celia de Fréine and John O’Donnell with musicians Olesya Zdorovetska, Nick Roth, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Catherine Fitzgerald. (Check the Dublin Book Festival website, link below, for updates on speakers).

This event will be dedicated to the memory of Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer, human rights activist and much-loved colleague, who would have been here with us for these event if she had not been killed, along with 12 other people, by a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

This event is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, in association with Dublin City Council

For more information and to book please visit here.

Tickets: €10.00 (€3.00 Concession/unwaged)

Culture in a Time of War – Dublin Book Festival

Thursday 9th November, 6:30 p.m.

Venue: The Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dubin 2

Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann in partnership with Dublin Book Festival and the Ukrainian-Irish Cultural Platform host a discussion centred on the importance of preserving cultural memory in times of war. With journalist, cultural manager, Executive Director of PEN Ukraine, and curator Tetyana Teren; poet, essayist, and Professor of Cultural Studies Iryna Starovoyt; and curator of the WOUNDED CULTURE project, cultural analyst and manager at PEN International Olha Mukha

This event will be dedicated to the memory of Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer, human rights activist and much-loved colleague, who would have been here with us for these event if she had not been killed, along with 12 other people, by a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

This event is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, in association with Dublin City Council.

Admission is free but booking is essential, please click here.

Human Rights Under Threat: The Arts Respond

October 14, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm IST

Venue: Pearse Street Library Conference Centre

Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann is delighted to host this event in partnership with Smashing Times, International Centre for the Arts and Equality for the annual Dublin International Arts and Human Rights festival. The event is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, in association with Dublin City Council.

George Szirtes, award-winning Hungarian writer primarily in the field of poetry, translation and memoir, will be interviewed by Mary Moynihan, writer, director, theatre and filmmaker and Artistic Director of Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality. He will discuss migration, human rights and freedom of expression, and the role of poetry in these challenging times. He will also give a short reading from his work. Csilla Toldy, also Hungarian and also an award winning poet, novelist, translator and film-maker will join the discussion and read from her work.

Tickets are for free but booking is essential here.

Speaker Biographies:

George Szirtes was born in Hungary and emigrated to England with his parents — her mother a survivor of concentration and labor camps—after the 1956 Budapest uprising.

Szirtes studied painting at Harrow School of Art and Leeds College of Art and Design. At Leeds he studied with Martin Bell, who encouraged Szirtes as he began to develop his poetic themes: an engaging mix of British individualism and European fluency in myth, fairy tale, and legend. Szirtes’s attention to shape and sound, cultivated through his background in visual art and his bilingual upbringing, quickly led to his successful embrace of formal verse. In an essay in Poetry magazine defending form, Szirtes argues that “rhyme can be unexpected salvation, the paper nurse that somehow, against all the odds, helps us stick the world together while all the time drawing attention to its own fabricated nature.”

His first book, The Slant Door (1979), won the Faber Memorial Prize. Bridge Passages (1991) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize. Reel (2004) won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and his New and Collected Poems was published by Bloodaxe in 2008.

Szirtes did not return to Hungary until 1984, when he visited on the first of several Arts Council travelling scholarships. He has since translated, edited, and anthologized numerous collections of Hungarian poetry. For his translation work Szirtes has won several awards, including the Déry Prize for Imre Madach’s The Tragedy of Man (1989) and the European Poetry Translation Prize for Zsuzsa Rakovsky’s New Life (1994). His own work has been translated into numerous languages and widely anthologised, including in Penguin’s British Poetry Since 1945.

He is the author of Exercise of Power (2001), a critical study of the artist Ana Maria Pacheco. He co-edited, with Penelope Lively, New Writing 10 (2001). Szirtes has written extensively for radio and is the author of more than a dozen plays, musicals, opera libretti, and oratorios.

Szirtes lives in England with his wife, the painter Clarissa Upchurch, with whom he ran the Starwheel Press. They collaborated on Budapest: Image, Poem, Film (2006). He is a member of the Advisory Panel of the British Center for Literary Translation, and is on the Advisory Board of the Poetry Book Society. He has been a member of the Royal Society of Literature since 1982.  www.georgeszirtes.blogspot.com


Csilla Toldy is a writer and translator from Hungary, living in Rostrevor, Co Down. Her publications include various literary magazines in the UK and Ireland, as well as three poetry pamphlets: Red Roots – Orange Sky (2013), The Emigrant Womans Tale (2015) and Vertical Montage (2018, Lapwing), and the short story collection, Angel Fur and other stories (Stupor Mundi, 2019). Her novel Bed Table Door, long listed for the Bath Novel award, and winner of the Desmond Elliot Residency explores the idea of political and personal freedom against the backdrop of the Cold War and Thatcher’s England. (Wrecking Ball Press, 2023). Csilla creates film poems as a visual artist. Her award-winning work has been screened at international festivals. In 2020 she was commissioned by the Executive Office of Northern Ireland to create a public artwork, a film poem for Holocaust Memorial Day. Csilla is a Creative Writing tutor with the Open University and a mentor with the Irish Writer’s Centre.

Her film scripts won the Katapult Prize and the Special Prize of the Motion Pictures Association of America as the Hungarian entry to the Hartley-Merrill Prize and they were placed as Drama (Foreign Film) Genre Finalist in the APMFF Screenplay Competition 2015 in New Jersey. The Bloom Mystery her documentary based on Joyce’s Ulysses was screened internationally. Her narrative non-fiction was short listed for the Kingston University Biography Prize and the Fish Memoir Prize. Csilla’s first novel, Bed Table Door  was long listed for the Bath Novel Award and is recently with The Wrecking Ball Press.

In 2023 she was the recipient of the Desmond Elliot Residency awarded by the National Centre for Writing.

 www.csillatoldy.co.uk

Mary Moynihan, Writer, Director, Theatre and Film-Maker and Artistic Director, Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality

Mary Moynihan, (she/her), MA, is an award-winning writer, director, theatre and film-maker, an interdisciplinary artist and one of Ireland’s most innovative arts and human rights artists creating work to promote the arts, human rights, climate justice, gender equality, diversity and peace.