SEPTEMBER News – AGM summary and local activities


– Annual General Meeting
– Thank you to vacating PEN Perth committee members
– Happenings
– Upcoming event

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

On 15SEPT2022, we held our AGM at the Centre For Stories. It was wonderful to see our members gathered to hear about the importance of PEN’s work in advocating for detained writers. We also finalised new official office bearers and committee members. The documents below contain more detail about attendees, achievements and happenings with PEN Perth and our membership: the AGM minutes, chairperson’s report and writers in prison report.

Thank you to our vacating members

A special thanks to members vacating from their positions: Dennis Haskell (former Secretary) and Chris Lin (Burma/Myanmar co-ordinator).

Dennis Haskell

Dennis Haskell is an emeritus professor, poet and literary essayist. He is the author or editor of 24 books, and a member of the Order of Australia for services to literature, education and intercultural understanding. Dennis was President of Perth PEN in its previous incarnation; his other past committee roles include Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and Chair of writingWA. As Krishna said on the evening, PEN Perth would not exist without Dennis’ guidance and initiative. Thank you Dennis!

Chris Lin

Chris Lin completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia, writing on the aesthetics of moving bodies in contemporary screen and print narratives. He has worked in numerous roles across the university in teaching, academic program coordination, and curriculum management. He has interviewed writers at local literary events and curated the ‘Spotlight on Burma’ for PEN Perth as part of the 2019 Perth Writers Festival. Chris is stepping aside from his official duties as he embarks on the first chapter of fatherhood. Chris, thank you for all your work at PEN and congratulations on entering an exciting new stage of life!


Krishna Sen and Jenny Rowena in conversation via Zoom

Jenny Rowena and Krishna Sen in conversation

After the AGM, Krishna Sen invited Dr Jenny Rowena to discuss the deterioration of Indian democracy under the Modi government. Dr Jenny Rowena teaches English Literature at Miranda House, one of the oldest and most respected women’s colleges in Delhi. She is also the wife of Dr Hany Babu, Ass. Prof of Linguistics at Delhi University, who has been detained since 2020, along with more than a dozen other public intellectuals, lawyers and journalists on spurious charges of fomenting mass violence that broke out on 1 January 2018 in the village of Koregaon.

During the conversation, Jenny Rowena urged people outside India to campaign directly against the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act which has been used to justify the detainment of political prisoners such as Hany Babu during lengthy waits for trials. Thank you again to Jenny Rowena for sharing her harrowing story of resistance and resilience, to Krishna for her clear and intelligent conduction of the conversation and our intern Justine for technical set-up and assistance.

My Ukraine’ screening

The West Australian’s journalist and filmmaker Daryna Zadvirna will hold a charity screening of her documentary My Ukraine (more details here). The documentary captures her return her homeland during the Russian invasion, risking her life to capture untold stories in this gripping first-hand account from the middle of a warzone. H.E Mr Vasyl Myroshnychenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and NZ, will attend as a special guest and following the screening, Daryna will participate in a Q&A with veteran TV journalist Geof Parry who also will recount his experiences while covering the war in Ukraine for 7NEWS Perth.

Daryna read a Ukrainian poem in Ukrainian and English translation at our last Voicebox event. Congratulations to her for this successful screening which has sold out. We hope Daryna will share her expertise and connection with Ukraine’s freedom of expression issues at PEN Perth again.

Upcoming event

Australian Short Story Festival 2022 – Writing for Justice. J Eh Kaw Thaw Saw, Lobna Rouhani and Frances An will read works from Myanmar, Iran and Vietnam by writers who have refused to remain silent in the face of injustice. Former PEN Perth secretary and poet Dennis Haskell will chair the event. Catch us on 29OCT, 11:50AM-12:40PM, at the Pavlich Room in Fremantle Arts Centre. For the full schedule and ticket information, please visit the Australian Short Story Festival’s website here.

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