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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.

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PEN Melbourne supports PEN International and PEN America’s statements on the Israel/OPT war. In this dreadful time of war, PEN Melbourne maintains that our clear focus remains the acknowledgment of and campaign for writers at risk, those unjustly silenced, imprisoned and murdered for their peaceful work as journalists, storytellers, poets, bloggers. The PEN America statement linked here is based on research into the deaths of Palestinian and Israeli writers and tells the stories of some of those who are not simply “numbers killed”.  …

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Burhan Sönmez  is the President of PEN International: We believe in the nation of writers, as we now celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). We reflect on the role played by the PEN movement in shaping the meaning and messages of what would become a global road map for freedom, equality, and human rights for all. In shaping this global charter, PEN’s literary spirit has not only penned words but woven a narrative of …

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1 Narges Mohammadi’s 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen, I express my gratitude to the honorable members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for awarding the prestigious and honorable Nobel Peace Prize to the glorious movement of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ and to a woman, a human rights defender, and a democracy advocate, who is imprisoned. Your meaningful and powerful support is appreciated. I am confident …

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It is human nature to hope. As we enter the new year, we want to feel well and think good things. But, does everyone have hope? As you read this letter, does a young Israeli woman who is being held hostage by Hamas in an undetermined location have any hope? What does her family feel? What about a child from Gaza who survived his house, which was destroyed by the bombs of the Israeli Army, and who does not know …

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20 October: In the third decade of the 21st Century humans are able to see into the furthest reaches and most distant times of the universe. We can produce literature, art and music of extraordinary resonance and subtlety. And yet, almost every day in the world we are faced with escalating barbarism, mostly directed against our closest neighbours. Vicious conflicts are currently affecting the whole world. “PEN respects and defends the dignity of all human beings. PEN opposes injustice and …

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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