The Centenary World Congress of PEN was held via Zoom from 20-24 September, with the four Committee meetings held in the previous week. The Congress held some fascinating panel discussions on issues related to freedom of expression with participants such as Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, as well as talks by John Ralston Saul, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ma Thida and others.
The third Annual General Meeting of PEN Perth was held on 26 August at the Centre for Stories. A new committee was elected, with Rania Ghandour and Rita Saggar joining and Robert Wood standing down.
My Chair’s report for the year 2020-2021 is a little different. That is for two reasons, the first being organisational as it is the 100 year celebration of our international community, and the second being personal, because it is my final report as Chair.
The Asia-Pacific features the highest number of cases of writers who have been harassed, on trial, imprisoned, or killed with impunity in the recent 2020 PEN International Case List.
It might surprise many of out readers to learn that an Australian writer, blogger and academic, has been held in China since January 2019, charged with espionage, and pronounced guilty after a brief and perfunctory trial in a closed courtroom.
As you all know, PEN Perth exists to support and strengthen the responsible freedom of expression. In the current historical moment, that matters more than ever.
Myanmar’s plight is the most brutal in recent memory. The military has committed mass atrocities against civilians since February. Over 4000 arrests and 800 deaths have been reported (Association of Political Prisoners, 2021). The United Nations estimates that over 6 million people are in urgent need of food aid. This crisis has further exacerbated the systematic dismantling of free expression. […]
As an organisation committed to defending responsible freedom of expression and protecting a free press, PEN Perth is deeply concerned about today’s Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters over a series of articles published in 2017 called ‘The Afghan Files’, as well as the raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s Canberra homeContinue reading “PEN Perth Statement on AFP Raids”