National Writing Day

Today, 27 June, marks National Writing Day here in the UK. To mark the day, English PEN are celebrating the power of letter writing.

Throughout the year, PEN encourages our members and supporters to show solidarity with imprisoned writers around the world by sending them letters and messages. Colleagues around the world have described how these letters not only provide invaluable moral support but can also lead to an improvement in their treatment in detention.

This National Writing Day we would love for many more of you to get involved with this initiative by writing messages of support to imprisoned poet Galal El-Behairy in Egypt.

Galal was arrested on 3 March 2018  and held incommunicado for a week before appearing before the High State Security, showing signs of severe torture. More than three months later he remains in detention. A court verdict is expected today*, his 28th birthday.

Earlier this month, English PEN were pleased to join forces with fellow PEN centres around the world to publish Galal’s ‘A letter from Tora Prison‘. Please take a moment to read and share his work, and to write a letter of support.

If you are interested in sending a letter, please email We’d also encourage you to share details of the initiative and photos of your letter on social media with the hashtags #FreeGalal and #PENgreetings

* UPDATE: Galal El-Behairy’s sentence was expected to be announced today but has been delayed yet again, until 28 July. In the meantime, he will remain in detention. Please join us in sending letters of support & calling on Egypt to free Galal! *

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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