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Video link now added: Day of the Imprisoned Writer: Behrouz Boochani and Kylie Moore-Gilbert

February 13, 2024 IN WIP
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Together with PEN Melbourne, we invite you to join Behrouz Boochani, Kylie Moore-Gilbert and host Karen Percy for a conversation about the importance of freedom of speech and press, and the role writers play in challenging oppressive regimes.

The event can now be watched here:

Day of Imprisoned Writer 2023

About the Event

Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani was imprisoned on Manus Island for over six years, and during that time he became acutely aware that oppression takes root when people look away. He was determined to use his sharpest weapon – his words – to survive, and to expose Australia’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.

Now, in 2023, not only is Boochani free, he’s also a multi-award-winning author, documentary maker, humanitarian and scholar. His words, and those of other writers and activists, have changed lives, his own included. And they’ve helped keep us accountable.

A scholar of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, Kylie Moore-Gilbert also spent years unjustly imprisoned in unimaginable conditions. Invited on a study tour of Iran in 2018, Moore-Gilbert was falsely accused of espionage and imprisoned for more than 800 days, including seven months in solitary confinement – before her ultimate release through an Australian-brokered prisoner exchange.

Boochani and Moore-Gilbert come together for this special event, presented by PEN Melbourne and the Wheeler Centre to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. With host Karen Percy, these remarkable survivors will share their powerful stories, and reflect on the role of writing to shine a light in the darkest places.

The event can now be watched here:

Day of Imprisoned Writer 2023

Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.

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People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International