English PEN’s education programme, Readers & Writers, aims to give refugees, prisoners, detainees and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds transformative creative writing and reading experiences and the chance to explore literature and free speech.
Every year we send professional, published writers in to prisons, detention centres, young offender institutions, refugee centres and inner-city schools to lead inspiring and transformative creative writing workshops.
Our work does lots of things, including promoting a lifelong engagement with literature, improving literacy skills and qualities such as empathy and helping people enjoy their freedom to write and freedom to read. Read the latest books – written by the refugees, asylum seekers and migrants we work with.
Former Director of PEN, Jonathan Heawood, writes:
“The freedom to write and the freedom to read are not simply abstract civil rights: they become meaningful when they are used by individual, often disempowered, citizens. Our developing programme of work with refugee and migrant groups, our work in prisons and within the citizenship curriculum, embodies our awareness that speech is powerful, and that citizens need the capability to exercise it.”
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