Author Archives: Lia Mills

Svetlana Alexievich & the World’s Ambassadors

Three days ago, Nobel prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich (who is also President of PEN in Belarus) issued a statement saying that unknown persons were at her door. The last member of the Coordinating Council of Belarusian opposition to be imprisoned … Continue reading

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Sun Flower with Spider: lessons from a Covid summer

This Covid summer we spent more time at home than usual.  The view from our windows deepened; ordinary things around us acquired detail, texture, specific gravity – even emotional meaning, now that we have the time to absorb those meanings. … Continue reading

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Wanting all the Words: Elif Shafak in conversation with Emma Graham-Harrison ( A Guardian Live Event)

6th August 2020 UPDATE 11/08/20:  Guardian Live have made the interview available here. (This is a long post but I didn’t want to lose any of what Elif Shafak said.  Make yourself a cup of tea & settle in.) EGH … Continue reading

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COVID-19 as Weapon

It has not taken long for authoritarian regimes to turn Covid 19 into a weapon. In Turkey, for example, thousands of people who were imprisoned for criminal offences including rape and murder have been released because of the risk of … Continue reading

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Truth in the Dark (Nurcan Baysal)

Nurcan Baysal is a journalist and an award-winning human rights activist based in Diyarbakir, Turkey. She has been arrested and detained repeatedly for her writing about Turkish Kurdistan and for tweets she has posted concerning military assaults on the Kurdish … Continue reading

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PHILIPPE SANDS and DANIEL GORMAN speak to English PEN

On 6th May, a Zoom meeting for members of English PEN heard Daniel Gorman (Director) and Philippe Sands (President) in conversation. The primary focus of the discussion was on Human Rights in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they … Continue reading

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Letters With Wings project for Poetry Day Ireland  (30th April, 2020)

With people all over the world confined to home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a cosmopolitan group of poets based in Northern Ireland have set up Letters With Wings, “to bond with artists and activists who are kept in prisons … Continue reading

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Eavan Boland

It’s a real shock to learn that Eavan Boland has died. Hers was the kind of presence that seemed outside of time, even though definitely not Outside History. She has had a profound effect on so many of us in … Continue reading

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Life in Direct Provision Centres

Ireland’s system of Direct Provision for asylum seekers was only ever meant to be temporary in the lives of the people who are housed within it but many people find themselves trapped there for years. Twenty years after its inception, … Continue reading

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Imprisoned Voices: A Hearing

Today is PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Last night, the Freedom to Write Campaign held a poetry reading in the brilliant Parnell Square premises of Poetry Ireland, who were supporting the event, as was Irish PEN. The format … Continue reading

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