Each year on 15 November, writers, readers and PEN members around the world come together to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, and to stand in solidarity with writers in prison and at risk.
To mark this year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we’re encouraging all our members and supporters to join us in a mass show of solidarity by sending letters of support to a fellow writer as part of our new PENWrites campaign.
Since launching the campaign last month, we have received over 100 messages of solidarity for the family of our first featured case, Eritrean writer Amanuel Asrat, the winner of this year’s PEN Pinter Prize for an International Writer of Courage. Your messages have clearly meant a great deal to his family and we are pleased to be able to share the following responses from Amanuel’s brothers Daniel and Robel:
It is so amazing to receive the most comforting and uplifting letters. Words cannot express how grateful we are to be aware that there are many people standing in solidarity with us and our brother. I have gone through and been touched by each word on every letter. Many thanks to English PEN for all you are doing for our brother and thank you for putting the awesome letters together.
Daniel Asrat Mebrahtu
This is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. It truly contributes a massive comfort to family, especially to my parents. I wish Amanuel could somehow hear this, how the world is admiring his legacy. Thanks everyone who made this all happen and constantly keep Amanuel in their prayers and thoughts. The legacy lives on!
Robel Asrat Mebrahtu
Our second featured case for the PENWrites campaign is our sister centre PEN Belarus.
The months since the disputed Presidential election of August 2020 have seen the violent suppression of peaceful protests and the arrests of thousands of demonstrators, including members and employees of PEN Belarus.
Despite the risks to their safety and liberty, they continue to work tirelessly, monitoring attacks on writers and artists, and sharing information about developments on the ground with sister PEN centres and the international community.