PEN Melbourne current projects
Help Behrouz Boochani
Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer, and activist Behrouz Boochani has been detained, seeking asylum, by for three years now. Currently detained on Manus Island, he's been waiting for Australian authorities to consider and respond to his case. Click on the image to READ the campaign letter and TAKE ACTION by WRITING to Dutton and Turnbull.
PEN Melbourne Campaigns
PEN Melbourne, as part of PEN International, campaigns on behalf of writers across the globe who are persecuted, harassed and attacked for what they have written or simply for being a writer. Along with our frequent Rapid Action Alerts on behalf of individuals, issued by the Writers in Prison Committee, we regularly run thematic campaigns. Find out more about our current campaigns and how to get involved by visiting the pages below:
For those of us who consider reading and writing an essential part of life, the idea that a writer, editor or publisher could be pressured, imprisoned or blacklisted because of his/her work is a horrifying one. PEN Melbourne has an active programme of letter writing, events and publicity designed to increase international pressure on governments that persecute writers for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression. The keystone of our programme is our response to Rapid Action Network.
The PEN International Women Writers Committee was set up in 1991 to promote certain issues faced by women writers around the world - challenges at family and national levels such as unequal education, unequal access to resources and actual prohibition from writing.
The Committee has multiple objectives and functions. Primarily, it focuses on issues of translation and linguistic rights and the effects these issues have on readers and writers across the globe, including at a most basic level, access to literature. Concurrently it places great emphasis on the role that literary translation can play in enabling inter-culture dialogue and exchange.
Since the 1980s PEN International has used the Empty Chair at events to symbolise a writer who could not be present because they were imprisoned, detained, disappeared, threatened or killed. The Empty Chair often represents a specific case, rather than all writers at risk, and regularly takes centre stage at such venues as the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Each year PEN Centres worldwide traditionally exhibit an Empty Chair on November 15 – the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. PEN Melbourne also hosts events on this day.
For the latest news from PEN International and PEN Melbourne, from panels at Melbourne's literary festivals to international reports concerning freedom of expression, check out what we've been up to here.
The PEN Melbourne Quarterly is sent out to members of PEN Melbourne four times a year by email as a PDF file. The Quarterly includes news from our committees, updates on PEN concerns and contributions of writing and poetry from members along with invitations to forthcoming PEN Melbourne events. Click here to read past issues.