One of the Writers in Prison Committee’s oldest and most successful strategies has been the election of persecuted and imprisoned writers from around the world as Honorary Members of local PEN centres. These Honorary Members remain a key focus for the local centre until they are released from prison, or a significant improvement in their situation occurs, and beyond.
English PEN staff and members work together to campaign on behalf of and stand in solidarity with these writers. Actions include:
– Raising and maintaining awareness through websites, social media and the press;
– Sending letters of appeal to the relevant authorities;
– Sending letters and books to them and their families;
– Visiting their families, and where possible the writers themselves;
– Providing relief grants for them and their families;
– Holding events, roundtables and demonstrations to raise awareness of cases;
– Assisting with the translation and publication of their writing;
– Nominating them for prizes and fellowships.
There are currently more than 200 members signed up to our Rapid Action Network, whilst many others are involved in our Books to
Prisoners Programme, write to an Honorary Member, or participate in our
annual Season’s Greetings initiative. All these actions can help to lessen the damaging effects of fear and isolation, and provide hope for the future. Moreover, PEN’s efforts have proved instrumental in bringing about the release of many of the writers on behalf of whom we have campaigned over the past fifty years.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in our work on behalf of our Honorary Members, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For an account by Naomi May of her experiences as a minder with the WiPC CLICK HERE
Click on the country in the left-hand list to view information about English PEN’s Honorary Members.
To view PEN International’s full case list of writers CLICK HERE.
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/