When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free.

— Orhan Pamuk
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Australian writers unjustly imprisoned face 'social isolation' for years


These are strange times as the pandemic ravages the world.  Working in ‘distanced’ isolation is not unusual for writers (we prefer it!). This can be challenging for others, however, especially if they have family or friends who are more vulnerable. If you know someone who is isolated, please get in touch – the voice of a friend can be a comfort.

A different kind of isolation is the reality for our fellow-writers who are unjustly imprisoned around the world, especially without access to appropriate hygiene and medical care. 

PEN Melbourne is particularly concerned about three Australian writers in prison overseas for simply speaking the truth. 

Please join our campaigns to have these writers and journalists freed and returned to Australia.

It also means a lot for imprisoned writers to receive messages of support. See address for Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert below. 
Dr Yang Hengjun
is in prison in China, charged with unspecified allegations of espionage that potentially carry the death penalty. More.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert
is an Australian academic wrongly charged with espionage and held in solitary confinement for ten years in Iran. We hold grave concerns for her mental and physical well-being. More.
Julian Assange
In solitary confinement in the UK, Julian faces extradition to the US for a potential lifetime sentence. More.
You can help today by writing Australian authorities who could assist. Even contacting one person on behalf of one writer will be an additional alert for the government to our concerns for the safety of Yang, Kylie, and Julian. Government contact details are listed below.

Thank you

Christine McKenzie
President   |   PEN Melbourne
Promoting literature. Defending freedom of expression.


The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Parliament House 
 Send an mail 

Senator The Hon. M. Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women,
PO Box 1420
Parramatta NSW 2150
Send an email

Senator the Hon Penny Wong
 Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6237
Halifax Street
Send an email 

You can also write regarding Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert
to the Australian Ambassador to Iran.

Ms Lyndall Sachs
Australian Embassy
No. 11, Yekta Street, Bahar Street, Shahid Fallahi Street,
Valie Asr Avenue
Tehran 1973633651
Republic of Iran

Send a postcard to Dr Kylie Gilbert-Moore
to let her know she has not been forgotten.

Tehran Province, District 2
Republic of Iran


Join PEN Melbourne today

Latest news

Mr Mark Isaacs‪: My name is Mark Isaacs, I’m a writer from Australia. I am the president of PEN Sydney, an associate of PEN International. I’ve been writing about conflict and displacement for close to a decade. My first book published was a whistleblower account of what happened in the Australian-run detention centre, or prison, for refugees on Nauru, which included Iranian refugees and since then I’ve traveled to Iran, Afghanistan and written a book on the peace movement in …

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24 June 2020 The Australian Centres of PEN International condemn the charges recently brought in the Philippines against Maria Ressa and reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr of the Rappler news website. This is another instance of a ruthless leader, President Duterte, acting with impunity and silencing those who challenge his power. On 15 June, Maria Ressa, co-founder, CEO, and executive editor of the Rappler news website,and one of the Philippines most prominent journalists, was found guilty of ‘cyber-libel’ along with with …

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The sentence served today, 15 June, against journalist and writer Maria Ressa, is a severe blow to freedom of expression in the Philippines, said PEN International. The ruling “undermines the already dwindling democratic space in which free media and civil society operate,” said The Philippine PEN. Maria Ressa was sentenced by the Manila Regional Court to a prison term of between six months to six years on charges of ‘cybercrime’ for an article published on the on-line news platform Rappler …