On Sunday, 15th November 2020, the new Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann held an event to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer and to launch our new organisation.
Strange to say of an online event but: there was a really friendly atmosphere on the night, thanks to greetings and comments in Chat. Thanks to everyone who came along to support us. Catherine Dunne will write a full report for our next Newsletter.
In brief: There was music from Cormac Breatnach and Eamon Sweeney; there were readings from Board members Kate Ennals, John O’Donnell and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne – the latter having written a new poem for the occasion, which she read in Irish and in English. Brian Keenan sent a pre-recorded reading from An Evil Cradling. I talked about the background to the new organisation, the work we do, why we think it matters.
Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International, spoke and read from a document she wrote with Paul Muldoon, The Democracy of the Imagination.
Finally, Board member June Considine read a message from our Patron, President Michael D Higgins.
Our Empty Chair was awarded to Chimengul Awut, Uyghur poet and editor, currently held in a re-education camp in China.
To join Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann: http://www.irishpen.com/become-a-member/
Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann promotes literature and defends the right of writers worldwide to responsible freedom of expression as defined in the PEN Charter.