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 PEN Melbourne

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International was set up in 1960 as a result of mounting concern about attempts to silence critical voices around the world. An office was set up at the PEN head office in London to gather information and to alert the PEN membership to take action. The WiPC is now staffed by a team of experts who monitor around 1,000 attacks on writers, journalists, editors, poets, publishers and others in any given year. These include long prison terms, harassment, threats, and murder.

Latest news

Victorian Writer, PEN column March 2022   Paul Morgan They shoot poets don’t they? On the night of 8 May 2021, Myanmar poet and pro-democracy activist, Khet Thi and his wife, Chaw Su, were taken from their home, in the city of Shwebo, by armed soldiers and police, and detained at a local police station. Khet Thi was separated from his wife and taken to a military facility where he was tortured to death. The next day his wife was …

Latest events

A PEN Melbourne event to acknowledge women writers who are silenced in Iran, Turkey, China, and Myanmar. About this event At this International Women’s Day event we gather to acknowledge women writers who are silenced and persecuted around the world. We will share their stories with you and read some of their work. This event celebrates the life and work of Judith Rodriguez, beloved long-time member of PEN, leader, and poet. Good company and Refreshments. $10 entry. Book tickets at …

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Dear Friend, Since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last August and the subsequent takeover by the Taliban, which has a long and brutal history of censoring artistic expression, many Afghan artists, including writers, musicians, filmmakers, and intellectuals, have been persecuted and targeted simply for being artists. Fearing for their lives, many artists have been forced to go into hiding, self-censor or destroy their creative work, or flee the country entirely, putting the future of the arts and culture in the …

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A statement by pre-eminent Contemporary Russian writer, Ludmila Ulitskaya published in Novaya Gazeta and translated by PEN member Subhash Jaireth. On February 24, 2022, the war began. I believed that my generation, born during World War II, was lucky, and we would live without war until death, which, as promised in The Gospel, would be ‘peaceful, painless and shameless.’ No. It looks like it won’t happen. And it is not known what the events of this dramatic day would bring. …

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We, the signatory PEN Centres below, are alarmed at a Presidential Circular published in Turkey’s Official Gazette of 28 January, 2022 that appears to call for even further censorship and restrictions to freedom of expression across all forms of media in the country. The first Circular of the year from the President is entitled ‘Press and Publication Activities’ and warns all media across multiple platforms in Turkey to adhere to national, moral and family values. It directs that: Necessary steps …

As a member of PEN Melbourne, you will receive a monthly Update with news about our activities and campaigns, and invitations to a program of events with renowned Australian and international writers and activists. The PEN Melbourne Journal is also produced twice a year and distributed free to members.

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