An evening of fine Cambodian literature, music and food
6:30 pm18:30

An evening of fine Cambodian literature, music and food

  • Bopha Devi Restaurant

PEN Melbourne invites you to support freedom of expression and human rights in Cambodia

On July 10, 2016, Dr Kem Ley, a Cambodian scholar, independent researcher and political analyst, a writer and human rights advocate, was assassinated in Phnom Penh.

A year has past and PEN Cambodia have asked us for help in raising funds for the promotions and communication of Dr Ley's writings. We at PEN Melbourne have made a long-term commitment to our partnership with PEN Cambodia.


To raise funds, we're organised an enthralling evening: readings from Cambodian writers, music, and great Cambodian food.

COST: $40 (concession) / $50 solidarity price per person, including a three-course meal banquet. Please let us know if an dietary requirements.

RSVP by July 20 to

Please join us in supporting freedom of expression and human rights in Cambodia (and enjoy great company, Cambodian culture, and drinks at the bar!)

Mildura Indigenous Writers Award
12:30 pm12:30

Mildura Indigenous Writers Award

  • La Trobe University

After the successes of 2015 and 2016, PEN Melbourne and the Mildura Writers Festival are delighted to continue the Mildura Indigenous Writers Award in association with the Mallee District Aboriginal Services.

The Award is open to local, Indigenous writers of 16 years and older and will be for a short fiction of up to 2000 words or a poem on any theme.  Prize money of $1200 will be awarded.

The 2017 Judge will be announced in early June.  

Awards will be presented by writer Natalie Harkin (Narungga) at 12:30pm on Saturday 15 July at La Trobe University, Mildura.

Entries close on 30 June 2017

Download the MIWA Entry Form  HERE

Find more information on the festival's website.

10:00 am10:00

Global local: Sharing stories with the world

  • Eltham Library

Join us for a d day of readings, discussion, book signings and intellectual engagement, presented by Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, ELTHAMbookshop and Monash Asia Institute:

And more...

And more...

$35 (includes your choice of book and lunch)
$30 (for APWT members and lunch)
$20 (for students with valid ID and lunch)

Prepaid bookings essential: call ELTHAMbookshop on 9439 8700 or visit today at 970 Main Rd, Eltham 3095.

10:00 am10:00

Stop Press: Ali Eckermann Writing Workshop for Aboriginal People

  • Museum of Innocence
Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ali Cobby Eckermann

We are excited to invite local Aboriginal people to a FREE writing workshop in Mildura on April 12 and is of interest to Indigenous writers of all levels.

The workshop is run by internationally awarded poet and writer Yankunytjnatjara woman, Ali Cobby Eckermann. Ali has won the 2017 Windham-Campbell award for a body of work stoked by political and moral outrage, including her most recent collection of poetry, Inside My Mother. The collection is an ode to the Stolen Generations and is dedicated to her birth mother, her grandmothers, and the ngangkari (healers from her Yankunytjnatjara people in the far north of South Australia).

Ali about her workshop: 'Poetry is often personal, yet can define us as a community and a country. In this workshop we will explore "family as a broad but vital network involving both the living and the dead, and the interrelatedness with the environment." Is writing today placed best in the past, present or the future? Let's explore this together.'

Attendance is open and free, but please contact and book a spot with Chris McKenzie at:

The workshops is supported by: PEN Melbourne, Arts Mildura, Copyright Agency, and MDAS.

Profiting from the rebellion of our parents: Sara Dowse and Judith Buckrich in conversation, an International Women's Day event
6:30 pm18:30

Profiting from the rebellion of our parents: Sara Dowse and Judith Buckrich in conversation, an International Women's Day event

  • Readings Carlton

PEN Melbourne in partnership with Readings Books presents:

Profiting from the rebellion of our parents: Sara Dowse and Judith Buckrich in conversation

Entry fees: $10 (the money raised will be donated to PEN Melbourne)

Join us for a conversation with Sara Dowse and Judith Buckrich, two profoundly political activist writers who learned at their communist parents’ knees. Sara and Judith will talk activism and the turbulence of the 20th century.

Sara Dowse is a Sydney-based writer, artist and feminist who in the 1970s headed the inaugural Office of Women’s Affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  She is still considered to be Australia’s pioneer ‘femocrat’. Her novel As the Lonely Fly is set for release in the first half of 2017.

Dr Judith Buckrich is an award winning historian. Arnold Zable said of Judith’s recent memoir The Political is Personal (it) ‘is an inspiring recollection of a life lived to the full, epic in scope, tempered by an acute political awareness, driven by a hunger for knowledge and experience, and crafted with the skill of a seasoned writer.’

Judith Buckrich's book The Political is Personal: A Twentieth Century Memoir will be available for purchase for $30 at the event.

For further information please contact Melbourne PEN 

PEN Melbourne AGM
6:00 pm18:00

PEN Melbourne AGM

  • The Clyde Hotel

PEN Melbourne members and friends, please join us at the 2016 AGM and annual card-writing to imprisoned writers session at Lounge Bar of the Clyde Hotel.

We have on board a wonderful guest speaker, Janet Galbraith of Writing Through Fences, a writer and an advocate for imprisoned writers. Come and meet other PEN Melbourne members as well as our committee members, have a drink, and enjoy some good chats.

The AGM is also an opportunity to nominate yourself for the committee: we welcome new energy and contribution.

Please note that the formal part of the meeting will begin at 7pm, but we encourage you to come earlier if you'd like to have dinner. Members of the current committee will be at The Clyde from 6pm, and we'd love to be able to casually connect and share ideas with PEN members before the formal part of the evening.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the Clyde!



6:00 pm18:00

Moroccan banquet & spoken word event in support of the Hrant Dink Foundation & human rights in Turkey


PEN Melbourne invites you to

A Moroccan banquet and spoken word in support of the

Hrant Dink Foundation and

human rights in Turkey


Sunday, September 18, 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Moroccan  Deli-cacy, 313 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Hrant Dink was one of PEN International’s writers-in-prison cases during 2005 and 2006 – and as part of PEN Melbourne’s annual card-writing events, many of us wrote messages of solidarity to Hrant in December 2006. He was assassinated on January 19, 2007, and we received his card of gratitude two months after his murder. PEN Melbourne has since committed to support freedom of expression and human rights in Turkey.

The Hrant Dink Foundation was created in his honour. They organise the International Hrant Dink Awards annually in September to recognise human rights work globally and in Turkey. (More at

These are complex times in Turkey – which makes the ongoing work of the Foundation and especially the Awards even more significant.

In 2015 the awards were granted to women’s rights activist Samar Badawi from Saudi Arabia and to Kaos GL, an initiative that works for LGBT rights in Turkey.

This is part of PEN Melbourne’s ongoing work in bringing together community members, writers, poets, artists, and musicians in a process of dialogue for building human rights in Turkey.

$50 per head for a delicious Moroccan vegetarian banquet in a beautiful space, poetry, readings, and good conversation. Alcohol free event. Please note there is a steep staircase to the venue.


Please book by September 14 via Jackie




2:00 pm14:00

Odyssey: Line by Line: A writer’s festival by RMIT Professional Writing and Editing students

Wednesday 14 September 2016, 2.30pm to 8pm.

This event is FREE!

You just need to let us know you’re coming:


3.30-4.30 PEN Melbourne: The World’s Writers

In a panel discussion with moderator Christine McKenzie (PEN Melbourne President), three inspirational writers – Rosa Vasseghi, Mujtaba Razai and Rajith Savanadasa – will share their thoughts and experiences on resisting political censorship and will explore ways in which the community can support freedom of expression.


Things to know:

·        The Festival runs from 2.30 – 8pm with PEN Melbourne: The World’s Writers running from 3.30 – 4.30.

·        Widely acclaimed poet, short story writer and novelist Tony Birch will be giving a keynote presentation to open the Festival.

·        There will be a raffle on the door for which all proceeds go to PEN Melbourne.

·        There will be entertainment between sessions!

·        Bella Union has wheelchair access.

Find out more about Odyssey: Line by Line on their website:


Twitter: @OdysseyLitFest




11:30 am11:30

Can the refugee narrative be shifted?

PEN Melbourne at the Melbourne Writers Festival


Arnold Zable of PEN Melbourne will participate in a panel discussing one of the most urgent and meaningful concerns at present for all Australians.

 Sunday 4 September, 11.30 am

Deakin Edge Federation Square

Session Code 3112

From media to politics, Madeline Gleeson, Abdul Karim Hekmat, Jamila Rizvi and Arnold Zable deconstruct the public perception of refugees and asylum seekers. How can we shift the narrative – and the language we use when talking about asylum seekers – to become more welcoming and positive? With Ruby Hamad.

Supported by Save the Children and PEN Melbourne

The Boat: 40 Years of Vietnamese Culture
4:00 pm16:00

The Boat: 40 Years of Vietnamese Culture

  • Bluestone Church Arts Space

It’s 40 years since the first big wave of Vietnamese migration to Australia. This celebratory event will feature a graphic screen storytelling of Nam Le’s The Boat and reflections on the changing migrant experience by SBS’s Kylie Boltin, writer Andre Dao, Mayor of the City of Maribyrnong Cr Nam Quach, and Pamela Curr. Hosted by Tracee Hutchison. Click here for more details.

The Empty Chair is for Vietnamese Internet writer and human rights activist Ngo Hao who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 5 years in probationary detention in 2013. He criticised the social injustice and human rights violations committed by the administration of his country.

Writing China
11:30 am11:30

Writing China

  • ACMI: The Cube

Sheng Keyi’s Death Fugue, a satire about Tiananmen Square, has been banned in her native China. Nicholas Jose, a former cultural counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Beijing, explores China in his fiction. What does their writing – and lived experience – reveal? In conversation with Nic Low. Click here for more details.

The Empty Chair at this event is for Chinese veteran journalist and poet Gao Yu, aged 70. Gao Yu is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for ‘leaking state secrets abroad’. Her health has begun to deteriorate while in prison and she was recently quoted as saying ‘I don’t want to die here.’


Talking Points: The War on Journalism
5:30 pm17:30

Talking Points: The War on Journalism

  • Deakin Edge

The mainstream media is in crisis. The Internet – which promised so much – is being used to produce a dark future. Four Corners reporter and Assange biographer Andrew Fowler marshals the evidence to attack the establishment, and defend the public’s right to know. Hosted by Nick Feik.

The Empty Chair is for Australian journalist Alan Morison editor of the Thai news website and former senior editor of The Age newspaper and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathian, who are charged with defamation and face possible prison terms of seven years.


Bookings required. Click here for more details.

Mar 30

Irrawaddy Literature Festival (Myanmar)

  • Mandalay Hill Resort

The Irrawaddy Literary Festival is an annual not-for-profit event, under the patronage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which takes place on alternate years in Mandalay and Yangon, Burma/Myanmar in the month of February. In its inaugural year, it drew 10,000 attendees.

It has been described by former British Foreign Secretary William Hague as having “achieved more for freedom of speech in one afternoon than most of us manage in a lifetime.” and by current British Ambassador Andrew Patrick as being ‘the most talked about international cultural event in Burma.”

The Festival was founded by Jane Heyn in 2013, and is run by a board of Directors comprising Burmese and non-Burmese members. Past participants include Thant Myint-U, Pascal Khoo Thwe, Jung Chang, Vikram Seth, William Dalrymple, Fergal Keane, Thierry Falise, Louis de Bernières, Polly Devlin, and Caroline Moorehead.

Read more on the Irrawaddy's Literature Festival here.