Celebrating Nelson Mandela: His Letters, His Legacy

**Update 17 March 2020: Following the latest public health advice from the government, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all of our events until 30 April 2020. If you’ve booked a ticket for any of these events, please contact the venue to arrange a refund.**

Displaced memories: recollection and exile

British Museum, London, WC1B 3DG

18:30 – 20:00, 20 March 2020

Presented in collaboration with the British Museum and English PEN.

What role does memory play when writing about loss, exile and displacement?

Staged in relation to the acclaimed installation library of exile, by British artist and author Edmund de Waal, this panel discussion explores the role of memory in writing about exile and displacement.

Joining Edmund de Waal guest speakers include award-winning poet Kayo Chingonyi, Chilean novelist Alia Trabucco Zerán and British Palestinian fiction-writer Selma Debbagh.


Memorial service for Raficq Abdulla

St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, W6 9BE
6.45pm, 19 March 2020

A passionate poet, essayist and broadcaster, Raficq Abdulla was also a valued and dedicated supporter of English PEN. A Trustee of many years, Raficq made valuable contributions to many different aspects of PEN’s work, including through his role on the Management Committee and his involvement with our Writers in Translation Committee. In 2014, Raficq took on the role Acting President, guiding the organisation through a period of transition with considerable skill, wisdom and energy. Raficq was a generous colleague and friend and will be greatly missed by us all.

Read tributes to Raficq here

English PEN are honoured to be joining Raficq’s family and friends to host a memorial service on Thursday 19 March. Please join us at St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, W6 9BE. Refreshments will be served from 6.45pm and the programme will run from 7.30 – 9.30pm (no interval). All welcome.


Vigil for writers at risk in Saudi Arabia

1pm, 27 March 2020
Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London

Join us, ALQST and Reporters Without Borders on 27 March for our next monthly vigil in solidarity with writers, journalists and activists at risk and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

We have been holding regular vigils at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London for more than five years, ever since imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi was flogged in January 2015.

Sadly the number of writers and activists at risk and in detention has continue to increase since then.

Please join us to show your support for Raif Badawi, his lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair and the many others being punished in Saudi Arabia simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

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

Vigil for Ahmed Mansoor

6.15pm, 25 March
1-2 Grosvenor Crescent, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7EE

Join us at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to mark three years since the arrest of human rights defender and poet Ahmed Mansoor and continue calling for his release. The vigil will be co-hosted by colleagues at Amnesty Westminster Bayswater, Friends of Ahmed Mansoor, and ICFUAE.

Rebecca Solnit: In conversation

31 March 2020, 6.30pm 
Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG

Join us for a conversation with Rebecca Solnit, activist and author of Men Explain Things to Me and The Mother of All Questions. Rebecca will be discussing her new book, Recollections of My Nonexistence, in conversation with Leena Norms, and a book signing will take place after the event. 

This event is the first in our Common Currency centenary programme – an 18-month celebration of freedom of expression to mark English PEN’s 100th birthday.

Presented in association with New Writing North, the literature development organisation for the North of England.