'Each letter day, I get so many letters from PEN members and I am engulfed by very beautiful feelings... I can feel myself with you, always, and perhaps that is why I never feel helpless.'

Zehra Doğan, Kurdish artist and writer

PENWrites logo

PENWrites is our international letter​-writing campaign in solidarity with writers in prison and at risk around the world.

For decades, PEN has supported writers who are persecuted, harassed, and imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and PEN members have long supported fellow writers by sending letters of support.

The impact of such a simple act should not be underestimated.

Countless writers have told us how letters and messages they received provided much-needed moral support in extremely difficult circumstances, serving as a crucial reminder that they had not been forgotten. Others have spoken of how they were afforded better treatment in prison as a result of cards flooding in from all over the world.

Writers include Amanuel Asrat, Nedim Türfent, Pham Doan Trang, Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, Rahile Dawut, Galal El-Behairy, Jimmy Lai, and Mahvash Sabet – please take a few moments to send a message of support.

Featured writer: Rahile Dawut

Professor Rahile Dawut is an internationally acclaimed academic, anthropologist, a leading expert on Uyghur folklore and cultural traditions, and winner of the 2023 PEN Pinter Prize Writer of Courage.

In December 2017, Rahile Dawut was due to travel to Beijing for an academic conference, but never reached her destination. It was widely believed that she had been disappeared by the Chinese authorities. Her whereabouts remain unknown and it has been years since she had any contact with her family.

Send a message of solidarity to Rahile Dawut's family through PENWrites.

How can you support imprisoned writers?

Sign up to the PENWrites mailing list to find out how you can support our featured writers.

We'll be in touch with details of their cases, PENWrites events, and the latest case developments as they unfold.

Resources

Read our helpful guide to writing letters in solidarity and how you can support writers at risk.

FAQs

'I want you to know that your letters, which have rendered iron curtains meaningless and ineffective, have filled my two-step-long cell with resistance, resolve and hope.'

Nedim Türfent, Kurdish journalist and poet