Lindsey Hilsum: In Defence of Journalism
6pm, 17 November 2019
Quarterhouse, Folkestone, CT20 1BN

This event is part of Folkestone Book Festival, this year titled The Shape of Things to Come. It draws inspiration from the philosophy and spirit of HG Wells, who lived and wrote in Folkestone.

HG Wells said:
“I would rather be called a journalist than an artist.”

With journalists across the world under threat today and with the very centralities of journalism, indeed the very nature of truth it-self, challenged, Lindsey Hilsum celebrates the crucial role that journalists continue to play.

Lindsey Hilsum is Channel 4 News International Editor, and has covered many of the conflicts of recent years including in Syria, Ukraine and the Arab Spring. She was in Baghdad for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and in Belgrade for the 1999 NATO bombing. In 1994, she was the only English-speaking correspondent in Rwanda when the genocide began.

Her most recent book is ‘In Extremis – the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin’.

In association with Folkestone Book Festival.



November vigil for writers in Saudi Arabia
1pm, 29 November 2019
Embassy of Saudi Arabia, UK

Join us on 29 November to stand in solidarity with writers, journalists and activists at risk and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, including PEN Pinter Prize winners Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair. RSF reports a total of 30 journalists and citizen journalists currently detained in connection with their work, with Saudi Arabia ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. We will also be continuing to call for justice for journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This month’s vigil is also supported by our friends at Reporters Without Borders, ALQST, and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

(NB: supporters are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy.)


Resisting Censorship in Turkey
6 – 7.30pm, 30 November 2019
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

Freedom of expression in Turkey is rapidly deteriorating. Independent media has been all but wiped out and at least 117 journalists are behind bars, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

Join us on 30 November to hear stories of writers, artists and activists from Turkey who continue their work despite mounting pressure to self-censor. Award-winning writer Burhan Sönmez, investigative journalist Nurcan Baysal and lawyer Gökhan Ahi will share experiences of being harassed and imprisoned for their work, and discuss how people in Turkey remain determined to speak out in the face of censorship. The event will be moderated by author, journalist, translator and Chair of English PEN Maureen Freely.

Email to register your interest and we’ll let you know when tickets go on sale.


The Way Through The Woods
7pm, 3 December 2019
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

A discussion about writing, belonging and nature with Long Litt Woon and English PEN

I know it’s all a matter of rebuilding one’s life. In many ways it’s a matter of surviving and living under another sun, but how was I to do that?

Join us for a conversation with writers who have discovered healing and a sense of home through nature.

In a search for meaning following the death of her husband, author Long Litt Woon took up the study of mushrooms. What she found in the woods was unexpected – a sense of joy, freedom, and belonging. Chaired by Hannah Trevarthen, this intimate evening will celebrate the power of nature and writing, with more guests to be announced.

Long Litt Woon was born in Malaysia and is an Anthropologist and certified Mushroom Expert in Norway. Hannah Trevarthen is English PEN’s Events and Development Manager. English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, the worldwide writers’ association promoting freedom of expression and literature across borders.

This event is supported by the Norwegian Embassy.