Vigil at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
1pm, Friday 30 August

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 and for the release of the many writers imprisoned in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

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).

The Yogini: Sangeeta Bandyopadhay in conversation with Meena Kandasamy
7pm, Wednesday 11 September Foyles, Charing Cross Road

Join winner of the PEN Translates Award and internationally acclaimed Bengali author Sangeeta Bandyopadhay (PantyAbandon) in conversation with Meena Kandasamy (When I Hit You) at an exclusive London event introducing her hallucinatory new novel The Yogini.

What would you do if a mysterious yogi suddenly appeared in your life, and proceeded to follow you everywhere? For Bandyopadhay’s protagonist Homi, this disquieting but fateful encounter kickstarts a lengthy trip from Kolkata to the expansive banks of the Ganga, but also a life-changing spiritual journey that leads her to question her settled middle-class life.

Discussing her fascinating narrative and the haunting relationship between Homi and the yogi, Bandyopadhay will examine their significance to the enduring dichotomy between fate and free will. She will also talk about the process of having her work translated from Bengali and the recurring motifs of her work—loneliness, sexuality and the mystic forces that lie underneath the surface of modern life.

The event will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing.

The event is held in partnership with Foyles


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