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.

The Case of the Australian Writer in Chinese Prison

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.

2021 Chair’s Reflection

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.