Writers at Risk

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English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme campaigns on behalf of writers and other literary professionals who are unjustly persecuted, harassed, imprisoned, and in the most extreme cases murdered in violation of their right to freedom of expression

Founded in 1960, English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme – formerly the Writers in Prison Committee – is now one of the world’s longest running campaigns for freedom of expression. We seek to defend and support writers at risk and their families, to pressurise governments where the right to freedom of expression is under attack, and to help bring about the necessary changes to make the freedom to write a reality around the world.

Our members and supporters have always played an important role in our work on behalf of colleagues around the world, and we hope many more of you will consider getting involved.

Take Action

Visit our latest campaigns page for more information about individual writers currently at risk around the world and to take action. Suggested actions include sending letters of appeal to the relevant authorities, writing messages of support to individual writers and their families, and sharing information about our cases of concern in the media and with your friends and colleagues.

Join the Rapid Action Network

Members of the Rapid Action Network receive bulletins containing urgent calls to action on behalf of writers around the world. Distributed by email, each message contains details of the case and a sample letter of appeal to the relevant authorities. To join the Rapid Action Network, please click here.

Write to a Writer at Risk 

Our letter writing programme pairs a UK member with a threatened writer overseas. This long-term and highly personal casework can provide much needed moral support, whilst serving as a non-confrontational reminder to the authorities that the individual has not been forgotten.

Attend our events and demonstrations:

We organise a variety of events – fundraisers, vigils, film screenings, panel discussions, book launches – to raise awareness of our cases of concern and the funds to support them.

Join us on social media

We are very active on Twitter and Facebook where we share information about current cases of concern and campaigns as well as regular calls to action. Follow us on Twitter – @englishpen – or like our Writers at Risk Facebook page.

Make a donation to the Writers at Risk programme

Financial contributions to our work will always be gratefully received. Do get in touch if you are interested in holding a fundraiser or would like to make a donation to our ongoing work in support of writers at risk around the world.

For more information about these activities and the work of the Writers at Risk programme email cat@englishpen.org