Vintage crowned winners of The PEN Quiz 2017

A team of authors and publishers captained by Vintage Publishing director Rachel Cugnoni has won the 15th English PEN Quiz, which took place last night at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.

The winners narrowly beat the team of literary agents, named in honour of David Miller, into second place after a tense final round. The Economist team came third.

The victorious Vintage Classics team included authors Julian Barnes, Rachel Cooke, Sebastian Faulks and Mark Lawson.

Watch the dramatic announcement of the final scores

The PEN Quiz is English PEN’s major annual fundraising event. Twenty teams drawn from the world of media, publishing and law took part.

Damian Barr

Damian Barr

The evening was expertly hosted by an award-winning writer, journalist and host of his own infamous Literary Salon, Damian Barr. Cartoonist and author Martin Rowson acted as raffle master. The quiz questions were set by Simon O’Hagan, former Comment Editor and quiz-setter at the Independent, now of the Radio Times.

Media teams taking part included 21st Century Fox, the Economist, the Financial Times, Private Eye and VICE . Teams from the world of publishing included Hachette UK, Penguin Random House,Rogers, Coleridge and White and the PR agency Four Colman Getty.  Legal teams included 4 New Square, 11KBW, Matrix, Mishcon de Reya, and Laura Devine Solicitors.

 

Damian Barr to host 2017 PEN Quiz

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, journalist and host of his own infamous Literary Salon at the Savoy. His memoir Maggie & Me, published by Bloomsbury, was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Memoir of the Year.  His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2018. Damian covers politics and culture in his monthly Big Issue column and is a Radio 4 regular.

Twenty teams drawn from the world of media, publishing and law will compete to be crowned the 2017 Quiz winners. Previous winners include Penguin Random House, The Telegraph, The Times, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

English PEN’s gala fundraising event raises vital funds to support writers at risk around the world, to defend the freedom to write and read in this country, to bring the inspiration of great literature and creative writing skills to socially excluded communities and to help promote outstanding literature in translation to as wide an audience as possible.

Latest round of PEN Translates awards celebrates books in fourteen languages

Books from fifteen countries and fourteen languages make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners. These include the first novel from Mauritania to be translated into English; novels translated from minority and lesser translated European languages such as Occitan, Galician and Albanian; and an equal number of male and female authors.

Ros Schwartz, co-chair of the Writers in Translation committee, said:

‘We’re delighted to see that publishers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their choices, and that, interestingly, a number of projects are translator-led, underscoring the pro-active role translators can play in bringing books to publishers’ attention.’

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK. The award-winning books are featured on the English PEN   World Bookshelf  website, in partnership with Foyles.

2017 PEN Translates award winners:

  • The Yogini by Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha. Tilted Axis Press, October 2019. Country of origin: India
  • Butterfly Valley by Sherko Bekas, translated from Sorani (Iraqi Kurdish) by Choman Hardi. Arc Publications, March 2018. Country of origin: Iraqi Kurdistan
  • The Desert and the Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, translated from French by Rachael McGill. Dedalus, June 2018. Country of origin: Mauritania
  • The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti, translated from Italian by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre. Harvill Secker, April 2018. Country of origin: Italy
  • The Chilli Bean Paste Clan by Yan Ge, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman. Balestier Press, June 2018. Country of origin: China
  • Men Don’t Cry by Faïza Guène, translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone. Cassava Republic, September 2018. Country of origin: France
  • L’ora de partir by Sèrgi Javaloyès, translated from Occitan by James Thomas. Francis Boutle, autumn 2018. Country of origin: France
  • A Place Upon Your Face by Sema Kaygusuz, translated from Turkish by Nicholas Glastonbury. Tilted Axis Press, November 2018. Country of origin: Turkey
  • The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero, translated from Spanish by Annie McDermott. And Other Stories, spring 2020. Country of origin: Uruguay
  • Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated from Albanian by Ani Gjika. Bloodaxe Books, February 2018. Country of origin: Albania
  • Home is Like a Different Time by Eva Moreda, translated from Galician by Craig Patterson. Francis Boutle, 2018. Country of origin: Spain
  • States of Passion by Nihad Sirees, translated from Arabic by Max Weiss. Pushkin Press, August 2018. Country of origin: Syria
  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft. Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2019. Country of origin: Poland
  • The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from Spanish by Annie McLean. Maclehose Press, May 2018. Country of origin: Colombia
  • The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff, translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel. And Other Stories, February 2019. Country of origin: Sweden
  • Moving Parts by Prabda Yoon, translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul. Tilted Axis Press, October 2018. Country of origin: Thailand

Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Each year, on 15 November, English PEN and our colleagues around the world mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, an international day established in recognition of the many writers who suffer persecution as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Throughout the year, PEN monitors and campaigns on behalf of hundreds of writers around the globe who are harassed, persecuted, attacked, forced into exile and, in the most extreme cases, killed, for their work. Every November, PEN Centres and members worldwide come together to show our support for writers at risk, to remember those who have paid the ultimate price, and to stand in solidarity with our colleagues in prison.

This year, we are urging all PEN members and supporters to take action for one or more of this year’s featured cases, by spreading the word, sending messages of support and lobbying the authorities. Please let us know of any actions you take via cat@englishpen.org or the comments box below.

Thank you!

Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa is journalism graduate, student leader, and board member and founding member of PEN Honduras, who was convicted of ‘usurpation’ (‘usurpación’) at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras­ – UNAH) on 7 June 2017. PEN believes that Padilla Figueroa and other university students are being persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Take action for Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa here.

On 29 June 2017, blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, popularly known by her pen name Me Nâm (Mother Mushroom), was convicted of ‘conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam’ under Article 88 of the Penal Code and sentenced to 10 years in prison. PEN believes that Me Nâm is being targeted for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression.

Take action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh here

Ramón Esono Ebalé, alias Jamón y Queso, is an award-winning cartoonist and activist. On 16 September 2017, he was arrested in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea and initially questioned by security agents in relation to his cartoons that are critical of President Obiang and other government officials. News outlets reported a few days later that Ebalé is being investigated for alleged money laundering and counterfeiting money. He was presented before a judge on 20 September where he was asked about these allegations. He is currently being held in preventive judicial detention while further investigations are conducted.

Take action for Ramón Esono Ebalé here

Razan Zaitouneh is a human rights defender, blogger, lawyer and co-founder of the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC). On 9 December 2013, Zaitouneh, along with her colleagues Samira al-Khalil, Nazem Hamadi and Wa’el Hamada (her husband) were abducted during a raid on the offices of the VDC in Douma, near Damascus, by a group of armed men. They had been documenting human rights violations after fleeing the Syrian government-controlled area. There has been no news of their whereabouts since their abduction, but they are presumed to be detained by an armed Islamic group in control of Douma.

Take action for Razan Zaitouneh here

Zehra Doğan is serving a prison sentence of 2 years, 9 months and 22 days. On 24 March 2017, she was convicted of ‘propagandising for a terrorist organisation’ (Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law) by the Second High Criminal Court of Mardin province, for her work as a painter and journalist. PEN  considers her imprisonment a violation of her right to freedom of expression as an artist and a journalist, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.

Take action for Zehra Doğan

Take action for Razan Zaitouneh

Razan Zaitouneh is a human rights defender, blogger, lawyer and co-founder of the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC). On 9 December 2013, Zaitouneh, along with her colleagues Samira al-Khalil, Nazem Hamadi and her husband Wa’el Hamada – now known as the Douma 4 – were abducted during a raid on the offices of the VDC in Douma, near Damascus, by a group of armed men. They had been documenting human rights violations after fleeing the Syrian government-controlled area. There has been no news of their whereabouts since their abduction, but they are presumed to be detained by an armed Islamic group in control of Douma.

Reem Zaitouneh, Razan’s sister, who is a writer and human rights activist told PEN:

To think that you are a part of the world around you; to feel that you are not a lonely tiny creature compared to the universe; is a great start to be a human being, is a great start to be an audible voice of the world. In this way Razan started to write down her first letters. Her feeling that she can make the difference, her feeling that she could catch the light, was her guide to continue and never to stop. She believed in people and in their power to demand their own rights, so she kept writing and working with her people to encourage them to optimise this power, while she was trying to deliver their messages to the world. She wrote about social issues, and women and political detainees.

Her pen was very strong, which induced her enemy to try breaking it, so she was kidnapped and her kidnappers still refuse to admit it. Razan has left a great emptiness in the revolution! As for me, I felt of the pain of the two edged sword. Her absence affected me on both levels: the personal and the professional, as her sister and a human rights activist.

Take action

Spread the word

Share information about Razan and her colleagues with friends, in national and local press and on social media. #Douma4

Read and share work by award-winning writer Vahni Capildeo written in support of the Douma 4 for the 2017 English PEN Modern Literature Festival here.

Send letters of appeal

  • Expressing concern at the continued detention of prominent human rights lawyer and writer Razan Zaitouneh, as well as hundreds of thousands of Syrians;
  • Calling on armed non-state actors operating in Syria as well as the Syrian authorities to end their policy of arbitrary detention, torture, and extra-judicial killings and to release immediately and unconditionally all those held in detention for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion;
  • Calling on all parties to immediately disclose the whereabouts of those who are subject to enforced disappearance and to grant them access to their family and medical care;
  • Calling on all parties to comply with International Human Rights Law, as well as International Humanitarian Law;
  • Calling on the United Nation to ensure that all parties work towards a political transition in Syria which will put an end to this on-going conflict and the massive human rights violations it continues to create.

H.E. Mr. António Guterres
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive Office of the Secretary-General
S-3800, United Nations Secretariat Bldg
New York, NY 10017, USA

President of the United Nations Security Council
405 East 42nd Street – New York, NY, 10017, USA
Prince Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein
The High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland