Vigil at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
1pm, Friday 27 September

Join English PEN and Reporters Without Borders for our monthly vigil at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London.

We will be standing in solidarity with writers, journalists and activists at risk and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, including PEN Pinter Prize winners Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair. We will also be continuing to call for justice for murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi as the first anniversary of his brutal murder on 2 October approaches.

Please join us at the Saudi Embassy in London to show your support. (NB supporters are asked to meet at the Curzon Street to the Embassy).

2019 PEN Pinter Prize with Lemn Sissay
7pm, Thursday 10 October
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

Credit: Hamish Brown

Join us for the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize ceremony with this year’s winner poet, performer, playwright, artist and broadcaster Lemn Sissay.

Lemn Sissay will deliver a special lecture and announce the winner of this year’s PEN Pinter Prize for an International Writer of Courage. A limited edition booklet of the lecture published by Faber & Faber will be available to the audience at the event.

The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the charity English PEN, which defends freedom of expression and celebrates literature, in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter. The prize is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.

Lemn Sissay was chosen by this year’s judges: writer, translator and chair of English PEN Maureen Freely; culture correspondent at The Economist Fiammetta Rocco and author Niven Govinden. 

Image: Lemn Sissay © Hamish Brown


International Translation Day
30 September 2019
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

Literature knows no frontiers, and should remain a common currency between nations in spite of political or international upheavals. – The PEN Charter

International Translation Day, the largest coming-together for the UK translation community, is back.

Translation and translators play a pivotal role in moving words and ideas across linguistic and national borders; in fostering internationalism; and in giving readers access to outstanding literature not originally published in the English language. In a political moment where borders are being reinforced and freedoms challenged, it is telling that the publication and readership of literature in translation is increasing.

Following the success of 2018’s format, ITD 2019’s evening programme explores ‘Translating Today’ – what it means to be a translator working in this moment, and what it means to attempt to translate it. Throughout, it will ask the question: What does our political moment mean for translation? ITD will start with daytime Translation Clinics, where translators can come with specific challenges (small or large) to discuss with experienced practitioners. The evening programme will start with a panel discussion, ‘Translating Today’, exploring practical and theoretical questions around contemporary translation, with a focus on the politics of translation. This will be followed by ‘Pitching Today’, in which three translators will pitch ideas pre-selected by publishers and editors. Finally, the evening will close with a translation party, where translators can network and meet with colleagues and editors.

Sold out. Contact Free Word to be added to the waiting list.

Crossing the line: writers on Brexit
7pm, 31 October 2019
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

On 31 October, the night of the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU – with questions of home and belonging on the minds of many – join us for an inspiring discussion with English PEN and award-winning writers, exploring how we find unity and resistance in times of political uncertainty. 

Nick Revell is a comedian and writer and has written two novels, performed several solo theatre shows, and has written for TV shows including Drop the Dead Donkey, and Not the Nine O’Clock News; Will Eaves is the author of four novels and a collection of poems and was previously Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement; Kapka Kassabova is a writer, her latest book ‘Border’ won the British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize, The Saltire Book of the Year, Stanford-Dolman Book of the Year, and the Highlands Book Prize; Nadifa Mohamed is a Somali-British novelist, having featured on Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists list in 2013, and in 2014 on the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.E

This event is in partnership with Free Word as part of the Writing Our Way Home Season.


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.