March 2022 newsletter

Contents Opening message featuring Andrey Kurkov Upcoming event(s): Patron’s Lecture featuring Kylie Moore-Gilbert Emergency headline: Ukraine-Russia conflict Australian writers in prison: Yang Hengjun and Julian Assange Oceania focus: Hany Babu (India) and Zaw Lin Htut (Burma) Notable women writers and journalists Opening message COVID starts its third year of chaos. Combat continues in Ukraine andContinue reading “March 2022 newsletter”

Free Hany Babu

‘21 February each year was International Mother Language Day. PEN International joins worldwide observations of International Mother Language Day, which celebrates the importance of linguistic diversity around world’ The idea for such a day originated from Bangladesh, which won its independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a long struggle in which the linguistic rights ofContinue reading “Free Hany Babu”

Professor in Prison: The Curious Case of Hany Babu

On 28 July 2020, human rights defender Hany Babu was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mumbai. He is now the twelfth accused arrested for his alleged involvement in the violence that broke-out at Bhima Koregan on 1 January 2018.

PEN Sydney and PEN Melbourne Call for PM to Help Julian Assange

PEN Sydney and PEN Melbourne have called for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to stand up for the rights of Australian citizen Julian Assange. Read their full letter here.

Writers in Prison Committee Meeting

On 14 September, representatives from over 60 PEN Centres convened for its annual Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) meeting. The meeting drew attention to the critical situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s recent takeover means that Afghan writers, activists, and cultural practitioners—especially women—face imminent danger.

Securing Writers’ Rights

As in previous years, PEN International held pre-conference discussions for its main committees, including the Writers for Peace Committee and the Linguistic Rights Committee, which I was able to attend via Zoom, albeit at an unusual hour as the conference ran on London time.

Report on the PEN International World Congress 2021

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.

PEN Perth Chair Report 2020-2021

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.