Located on Whadjuk land in Perth, Western Australia, PEN Perth is one chapter of PEN International, a non-profit organisation working at the intersection of writing and politics. PEN International was founded in London in 1921 and now has 150 centres around the world.
PEN Perth is active on local and international issues, including questions of Indigenous incarceration, refugee detention and a free press. In particular, we campaign for the release of wrongfully imprisoned writers and advocate for the responsible freedom of expression.
PEN Perth aims to raise the consciousness of the public and encourage a world where writers are free to express themselves, responsibly and respectfully.
Patron and Honorary Member
Sydney-born Peter Greste is an internationally recognised journalist concerned with politics, media freedom and war. He has worked for Reuters, CNN and the BBC in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. For his work on media freedom and human rights, he has won awards from the Walkley Foundation, the RSL’s ANZAC Peace Prize, and the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal. He is the author of The First Casualty published by Penguin. PEN International helped work for Peter’s release from an Egyptian prison where he was incarcerated in 2013 for reporting that was ‘damaging to national security’. In 2018, he commenced his position as UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communications at the University of Queensland.
Chair and Writers in Prison Coordinator
Krishna Sen grew up in India. She completed a BA honours in History and a MA in International Relations in Kolkata, before moving to Australia to do her PhD in Political Science at Monash University. She has published extensively on contemporary Indonesia, as well as serving in various management positions and boards in the Higher Education sector. Throughout most of her adult life, Krishna has been actively involved as a donor and activist for a number of human rights and international aid organisations.
Coordinator, Writers in Prison
Robin Bower is a writer and editor who has worked in publishing in Australia and internationally. She was managing Editor for a Hong Kong magazine where she reported on the diamond industry in Asia and Europe. In Perth, she taught Writing, Editing and Publishing at Curtin University, holding qualifications in arts, education and publishing, and a master of Creative Writing from the University of Canberra. Currently, Robins works as a publishing manager in geoscience within the State Government while currently working on a children’s book. She has a keen interest in promoting freedom of expression in all forms, particularly for writers who have been unjustly detained.
Caroline Wood is Co-Founder and Director of the Centre for Stories and Margaret River Press. She has held senior management positions in the private sector and universities. She served on Board of the Small Publishers Network and Amnesty International (Australia), was President of the WA Branch of Amnesty International and convened Amnesty’s first Stop Violence Against Women’s International Conference. She is also the Co-Founder of the Australian Short Story Festival.
Dan Midalia has been a Commonwealth and State public servant for over thirty-five years, working mostly in the archives, records management and statistics sectors. He is the author of Collections in Perth: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records (2000). For several years, he worked as an independent researcher and assisted with the collation of data for the Bibliography of Australian Literature and the AustLit database. He has a long-held interest in social activism.
Frances An is a PhD student in Psychology at the University Of Western Australia. She is interested in market research history and intellectual life under Communism. She has reviewed multiple academic essay collections on literary culture during Maoist China. Her short stories and personal essays have appeared in The Vietnamese Magazine, Demos, Portside Review, Los Angeles Review Of Books, The Spectator (Australia) and others. Her responsibilities at PEN include collating the monthly newsletter, social media updates and bilingual reader (Vietnamese-English). Through PEN, she is passionate about highlighting the struggles of writers and intellectuals under Communist dictatorships
Baden Offord is a writer, teacher, scholar and activist who was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand of Māori and Pākehā heritage. Currently Emeritus Professor at Curtin University, he was formerly the Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. He has held positions at Southern Cross University, the University of Tokyo and the University of Barcelona. Baden is widely published and is the author of Homosexual Rights as Human Rights: Activism in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia, which was awarded the George Duncan Memorial Prize. In 2021 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to tertiary education in the field of human rights, social justice, and cultural diversity.