Gillian Slovo, President
South African born Gillian Slovo is President of English PEN and the author of twelve novels and a family memoir, Every Secret Thing, which was an international best seller. Her novel, Red Dust, won the Prix RFI Temoin du Monde and became a feature film starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ice Road, set in Leningrad in the 1930s, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her co-authored play, Guantanamo- Honor Bound to Defend Freedomplayed worldwide. Her verbatim interviews with women politicians were part of the 2010 Tricycle Theatre’s Women, Power and Politics season.
Raficq Abdulla is a lawyer, business consultant, writer, poet, and broadcaster. He was awarded an MBE in 1999 for his interfaith work between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. He has written and published on art, poetry, spirituality and identity, and has written and presented programmes on Islam and poetry for BBC World Service radio, including The Four Caliphs; Rumi; Attar’s The Conference of the Birds; a series on the life of The Prophet Muhammad; and a programme based on an anthology he produced on the erotic underpinning of much of spirituality entitled Sex and the Soul.
He has performed his own poetry and his interpretations of Rumi and Attar at various poetry festivals, including Dartington and Ledbury. Among his publications are Words of Paradise: Selected poems of Rumi, and The Conference of the Birds: Selected Sufi Poetry of Farid ud-Din Attar. Raficq has written respectively the dialogue and screenplay for the Channel 4 films Blood of Hussein and Born of Fire. He has been trustee of the Poetry Society and Planet Poetry.
Dr. Rick Gekoski is a writer, broadcaster, and rare book dealer. He has published Joseph Conrad: The Moral World of the Novelist, The Bibliography of William Golding, Staying Up: A Fan Behind the Scenes in the Premiership, Tolkien’s Gown And Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books, and Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir, an account of his life traced through his reading. As a broadcaster he has written and delivered three series of Rare Books, Rare People for BBC Radio 4, as well as two series of Lost, Stolen, or Shredded: The History of Some Missing Works of Art. Rick teaches creative non-fiction for the Arvon Foundation, and sits on their Development Board. He was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2005 and is presently Chair of Judges for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize.
Lennie Goodings is the Publishing Director of Virago Press. She is dedicated to raising PEN’s profile in the publishing community, with particular emphasis on building recognition for English PEN’s unique portfolio of prizes.
Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, with some thirty books to his name. He is the author of a number of works of non-fiction, the translator of novels by writers including José Eduardo Agualusa, José Luís Peixoto and María Dueñas and non-fiction by Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago and Brazilian footballer Pelé, and editor of a number of reference books. He has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (with his translation of Agualusa’s The Book of Chameleons) and a Blue Peter Book Award (for The Ultimate Book Guide, the first in his series of reading guides for children and teenagers), and judged a number of prizes including the IFFP and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He is currently chair of the Translators Association and interim director of the British Centre for Literary Translation, on the boards of Arcadia Books and Pop Up Projects, on the councils of Shakespeare’s Globe and Human Rights Watch, and on a number of other boards and committees. He is 37 and lives in Brighton.
Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland, where she studied piano at the Cracow School of Music, before emigrating in her teens to Canada and then the United States. After receiving her Ph. D. in English and American literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor at The New York Times, serving for a while as one of its main literary critics. She has taught literature and creative writing at various universities, and has written and lectured internationally on issues of exile, memory, Polish-Jewish history, politics and culture. Her books include Lost in Translation, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret, and Appassionata.
She has presented radio programmes and curated a series on “Writing and Music” at the South Bank Centre. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters,
the Kosciuszko Foundation award for Shtetl, and the Prix Italia for radio. She now lives in London, and teaches at Kingston University.
Formerly an academic, Rachel Holmes held lectureships in English at the University of Sussex, and Queen Mary College at the University of London. In 1998 she became part of the launch team of Amazon.co.uk, and was Web Site Manager of the Amazon UK site until leaving in December 2002 to pursue a writing career. Her first book, Scanty Particulars: The Life of Dr James Barry, was published in 2002, and her second, The Hottentot Venus: the life and death of Saartjie Baartman: born 1789 – buried 2002, was published in 2007.
She has judged several literary prizes, including the Whitbread Awards and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and has appeared on Any Questions and Newsnight Review. Rachel Holmes is a frequent columnist and reviewer and is Secretary of Friends of TAC, international fund-raising and lobby group for the Treatment Action Campaign, the South African HIV/AIDS movement. Chosen as one of the ‘Women to Watch’ by the Cultural Leadership Programme, she is Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the South Bank Centre.
Amanda Hopkinson has been active in Human Rights and literature throughout her life. She joined Amnesty International whilst still at school, on the recommendation of Norman Lewis. On graduating from university she went to work for AI in Latin America. Much of her writing has been concerned with and for, and influenced by publications on, human rights and freedom of expression. The first full-length translation she worked on was Ernesto Sabato’s Never Again published by Faber in 1986. She also contributed, through writing, translating and editing, regularly to Index on Censorship magazine. She has continued to have translations published, her latest being of Ricardo Piglia’s Money to Burn (Granta, 2003). As an academic, she has been involved in establishing both Swansea and Norwich as ‘cities of refuge’, offering a haven to refugee writers. She has long supported the goals of PEN, a founding and enthusiastic member of the new PEN ‘Writers in Translation’ committees, in the US and UK, and she recently served as the Chair of the English one.
Catriona Jarvis is a judge of the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber, having been a judge for 20 years, deciding refugee, human rights and immigration appeals. Prior to this, she was a legal aid lawyer in the fields of immigration, asylum and human rights, children’s law and mental health. She is the Rapporteur of the Vulnerable Persons Working Party, International Association of Refugee Law Judges.
Nicolas started his career at Liverpool Playhouse in 1967 as an ABC TV trainee regional theatre director. In 1970 he became Artistic Director of the Watermill Theatre, from 1970-72 Associate Director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and from 1976-81 Administrative Director of The Oxford Playhouse Company. From 1984-2012 he was Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre in London.
He has directed productions in over 100 theatres around the world including the West End and New York; as well as for notable companies in the United Kingdom including The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, The Donmar Warehouse, The Hampstead Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith, The Young Vic and at the National Theatre.
He has also directed many plays in the USA both regionally and in New York, on television for the BBC both on Television and Radio.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters at Westminster University in 2008, and was made the first Freeman of the Borough of Brent in 2012.
Barry Kernon, Honorary Treasurer
Barry is a Chartered Accountant who has been in private practice since 1972. For some 16 years he headed his own firm, Kernon & Co, until he joined H W Fisher & Company as a consultant when the two firms merged in 2002. Barry acts for a great many authors, journalists and others in the media world, and is an acknowledged expert in the tax treatment of individuals in the creative industries. He also advises many smaller business operating in a wide variety of sectors.
Lindsay Mackie – Deputy President
Lindsay Mackie was a journalist for The Guardian, specialising in race and home affairs, film critic with The Herald and arts feature writer with The Scotsman. She subsequently worked on Hansard campaigns with Lord Lester, young people’s citizenship campaigns, an education campaign to set up Reading for Pleasure clubs in secondary schools and Reading for Pleasure seminars for schools at The Guardian Newsroom. She is currently working with UK Film Council on a programme to set up film clubs in all UK schools.
Hisham Matar is a Libyan author. His debut novel In the Country of Men was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Hisham’s essays have appeared in the Asharq Alawsat, The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The New York Times.
David joined the Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency in 1990, first working as the receptionist and becoming a director in 1997. He served as Treasurer of the Association of Author’s Agents and, in 2008, was awarded the Orion Publishing Group Literary Agent of the Year Awards. He has been an advisor to the Literature Department of the British Council as well as the Creative Writing course at Edinburgh Napier University and is the author of a short novel, TODAY (Atlantic). He lives in west London with his wife and their two children.
Philippe Sands QC is Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals at University College, London. He is a practising barrister and co-founder of Matrix Chambers, acting in cases before the English courts and international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice. He is the author of Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008) and contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair and The Guardian.
Fathieh Saudi was born in Jordan. She completed her medical studies inFrance and worked as a paediatrician in Jordan and Lebanon, mainly with refugees. Her previous publications include L’Oubli rebelle, Beyrouth 82, memoirs about the war in Lebanon, and Days of Amber, memoirs in Arabic, 1990. She has translated several books from English and French into Arabic, including The Normal Child by Dr Illingworth (1990) and La cause des Enfants by Francoise Dolto (1994). Over the last two years she has translated three short collections of poetry and one pamphlet of short stories, written by exiled Arab authors as part of a project by Exiled Writers Ink: Close up from Faraway, poetry (2008), Lost Time, poetry (2008), A Chariot of Illusion, poetry (2009), and Midnight Nightmare, short stories (2009). She published her first collection of poetry in 2007: The Prophets: A Poetic Journey from Childhood to Prophecy and her second collection, River Daughter,
published by Exiled Writers Ink in 2009. She is the recipient of several awards for her social, cultural and humanitarian work. She is the chair of Exiled Writers Ink and a member of the Society of Authors.
Ros Schwartz has been a translator from French for 30 years and has more than 60 works of fiction and non-fiction to her name. She is particularly interested in bringing the writing of African and North-African Francophone authors to the English-reading public and has translated novels by Andrée Chedid, Aziz Chouaki, Fatou Diome, Yasmina Khadra, Ousmane Sembène and Fettouma Touati. She is Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee and is committed to helping broaden the readership for international literature.
She and Amanda Hopkinson won the 2008 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for their translation of Dominique Manotti’s Lorraine Connection.
Ros was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009 in recognition of her translation work.
Kamila Shamsie – Deputy President, Co-Chair, Writers at Risk Committee
Kamila Shamsie is the author of 5 novels, most recently Burnt Shadows which spans over 60 years from the bombing of Nagasaki to the War on Terror. It which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2009) and is being translated into 23 languages. Three of her previous novels have won awards from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. She has also written a non-fiction book Offence: The Muslim Case for the Index on Censorship and Seagull Books. She has written comment pieces on Pakistan for a number of publications, including The Guardian, Index on Censorship, The New York Times and Prospect, and also reviews books for The Guardian. She has been a judge for a number of literary awards including The Orange Award for New Writing, The Guardian First Book Award and The BBC National Short Story Award. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.
Salil Tripathi – Co-Chair, Writers at Risk Committee
Salil Tripathi lives in London and was born in India. His books include Offence: The Hindu Case (Seagull, 2009), about censorship by Hindu nationalists, and two forthcoming titles – a collection of travel essays (Tranquebar, 2011) and a book about the corporate scandal at Satyam Computers in India (Westland, 2011). He chairs English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee.
Salil has written extensively on politics, economics, literature, business, and on issues related to free speech for over 25 years in publications around the world. He has been a foreign correspondent based in Singapore and Hong Kong during the 1990s and was a correspondent in India before that. He has frequently written for The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, The New Statesman, Index on Censorship, The International Herald Tribune, Far Eastern Economic Review, The New Republic, and The Washington Post, among others. In India, he is a columnist at Mint and contributing editor at Caravan magazine. He also writes for Global Asia in Seoul and The National in Abu Dhabi. He was among the winners of the Citibank Pan Asia Journalism Award in 1994, and the Asian Award for Excellence in Magazine Writing in 1989.
In a parallel universe, he is policy director at the Institute for Human Rights and Business. He has been a non-resident fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School on business and human rights, and is on the advisory panels of major global initiatives on human rights and business. He graduated with a masters’ degree from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in the United States, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Bombay in India.
Honorary Vice-Presidents of English PEN:
Lady Rachel Billington; William Boyd; Dame A.S. Byatt CBE; Margaret Drabble CBE; Lady Antonia Fraser CBE; Victoria Glendinning CBE; Ronald Harwood CBE; Sir Michael Holroyd CBE; Ben Okri CBE; Josephine Pullein-Thompson MBE; Sir Tom Stoppard CBE; Claire Tomalin; Raleigh Trevelyan.