PEN Atlas is English PEN's international blog.
A collection of literary dispatches from around the world: where literature and human rights meet.
Since it lauched in 2008, PEN Atlas has featured some of the world's most important thinkers and writers. Highlights include Boualem Sansal on free expression in Algeria, Dorothy Tse on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, and Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-winning novelist Jenny Erpenbeck. Check out our contributors below.
In 2016 we launched PEN Atlas Events at venues across the UK. See our events listings for information on the next event – we hope to see you there!
PEN Atlas is a project of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme and is supported by Arts Council England and Bloomberg.
A woman walked out of Evin Prison in Tehran late one evening. Her face was pale from long confinement but her eyes shone bright. Her hair, shoulder length and dark when she first entered those doors, now reached her waist and was grey beneath her purple headscarf.
I lay back in the grass among fallen trees and the heat of sun on my palm felt like a knife I could use to bleed myself dry with one swift cut to the jugular. Behind me, against the backdrop of a house somewhere between dilapidated and homely, I could hear the voices of my son and my husband.
Ahmet Altan was imprisoned in Turkey with his brother Mehmet in September 2016. Despite being denied access to receiving and sending written communications, he wrote The Writer’s Paradox for publication on the eve of his trial, which starts on 19 September. We have been campaigning to raise awareness of Ahmet’s plight as part of our Speak Out campaign.