Tag Archives: PEN International

Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2015

PEN_International_-_Day_of_the_Imprisoned_Writer

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action – though often trivial in isolation – are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

George Orwell

 

Today is the 34th Annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer, sponsored by PEN International.

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PEN Relaunches Its “Atlas”

PEN International is an organization founded in 1921 to promote freedom of expression through literature.  It has 140 affiliates in more than 100 countries and a gallery of more than 20,000 writers across the globe; some who are just starting out and others who are well-established and well-known.  Their more notable members include: 

Chinua Achebe; Margaret Atwood; Isabel Allende; Aung San Suu Kyi; Josef Brodsky; J. M. Coetzee; Joseph Conrad; Anatole France; Nadine Gordimer; Vaclav Havel; Hu Shih; Danilo Kiš; Halldor Laxness; Liu Xiaobo; Mario Vargas Llosa; Amin Maalouf; François Mauriac; Naguib Mahfouz; Thomas Mann; Arthur Miller; Czesław Miłosz; Alberto Moravia; Toni Morrison; Kenzaburo Oe; Harold Pinter; and Salman Rushdie. 

They promote the freedom to write and the freedom to read.  Recently, PEN International re-launched the PEN Atlas, “its portal for international news.”

“The PEN Atlas is your gateway to a world of literature.  Every Thursday, we post literary dispatches from around the world, showcasing the very best international writers.  We hope to bring new insights into the rich literary landscape that may be found beyond the English language.  The amount of foreign literature published in English is far too low.  We hope the PEN Atlas inspire literature lovers to sample new writing from other countries, and encourage publishers to bring that writing to the British market.  The goals of the PEN Atlas:

  • To promote literature as a means of intercultural understanding by providing a forum for writers (publishers, translators, booksellers, bloggers, critics) to share their appreciation of writing from a wide range of languages and cultures.
  • To add to the internationalism of the UK literary arena by bringing world writing to an English-language audience.
  • To overcome cultural boundaries within today’s diverse English society by creating a resource which supports English PEN’s programmes’ and values.

All content is commissioned and edited by Tasja Dorkofikis, who will be inviting a wide range of contributors from around the world about to give their views on contemporary and emerging literature.”

I’m so glad to have discovered this organization.  As an avid reader and free speech advocate, I know nothing liberates people from political, religious and economic oppression like the freedom to speak out and read and write what they want.  We take these basic human rights for granted in developed nations, but even just a cursory glance at such places like China and Syria will make anyone realize how significant free speech is.

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