Friday, 7 February 2014
Thursday, 6 February 2014
The Guardian of today publishes an open letter to the Russian Government of more than 200 writers and PEN presidents worlwide.
Russia's anti-gay and blasphemy laws threaten freedom, says open letter signed by more than 200 writers from 30 countries
Thursday, 28 November 2013
In November 2003 in Mexico City the World Congress of PEN International – the oldest international association of writers, founded in London in 1921 – accepted the new PEN Trieste Centre. The request of a group of writers of Trieste, supported by the Associations Altamarea, Trieste ArteCultura and Gruppo/Skupina 85 was approved in function of the multicultural, multilingual and multi-ethnical tradition of our city.
The Trieste PEN Centre, having as Presidents Juan Octavio Prenz and Claudio H. Martelli, did organize during these first ten years some international conferences in order to discuss about the freedom of cultural expressions and about the relationships between the North and the South of our world.
There have been also meetings with Italian and foreign writers, the promotion of publications with translations, the literary monographs in cooperation with the Centres of Slovenia and Croatia, working towards cross-border cooperation.
The current President of the Trieste PEN Centre, Antonio Della Rocca, belongs since 2012 to the Board of PEN International.
To celebrate our Decennial, the Trieste PEN Centre has organized two meetings, in cooperation with the Province and the Municipality of Trieste.
On November 4th we presented the Anthology of the Decennial, with contributions of our Members and that will be the ”number zero” of a new line of a new book’s collection dedicated to the Members, “I LIBRI DEL PEN TRIESTE”.
Presentation of the Antogia del Decennale, front desk (from the left, Patrizia Vascotto, Secretary General, Antonio Della Rocca, President, Juan Octavio Prenz, Past President, Rina Anna Rusconi,Vice President)
IL PICCOLO, Trieste, November 20th, 2013
On November 22nd we held an international Conference on the themes of freedom of expression and of activity of the Writers for Peace Committee, during which we presented a Brochure “2003 – 2013 10 ANNI DI ATTIVITÀ” conceived as a promotional device, informing about PEN International and PEN Trieste, as well as a detailed report about the activities of our Centre.
The presentations of Antonio Della Rocca, President of PEN Trieste, of John Ralston Saul, International President, of Juan Octavio Prenz, Past President of PEN Trieste and a memory of the late Past President Claudio H. Martelli are translated from and into the official languages of PEN International, the Brochure being in Italian.
Both publications are meant to be distributed to Libraries and High Schools. The Brochure is available on request in .pdf format.
Several Centres took part to the Conference (Austria, Croatia and Slovenia whereas the Italian PEN and the Swiss Italian PEN could not attend for specific reasons).
Philo Ikonya – former President of PEN Kenya and former Member of the Board) spoke about freedom of expression and of her personal experience as a refugee in Norway, having been harassed and imprisoned in her own country.
Tone Peršak – former President of PEN Slovenia and recently elected Chair of the Writers for Peace Commitee, spoke about the history of the Committee and about the Manifesto of Bled.
Conference: Sanja Rojc (PEN Croatia), Antonella Grimm (Municipality of Trieste), Antonio Della Rocca
Conference: Marko Kravos (PEN Slovenia), Tone Persak, speaker (PEN Slovenia), Juan Octavio Prenz
Conference: Marjan Strojan (PEN Slovenia)
Conference: Philo Ikonya, speaker (PEN Kenya)
Conference: Helmuth Niederle (PEN Austria)
At the end of these celebrations, we can state that we are reasonably satisfied of the work done during these first ten years, but that we are aware that it is only a first step towards our future.
There is a lot of work to be done, and we need new forces to develop our ideas as well as to contribute further to the cause of PEN International in the fields of promotion of literature and defence of freedom of expression.
We will concentrate our efforts in attracting these new forces – young writers and poets – who can help us to achieve this ambitious aim.
(photos by Massimiliano Cocozza)
Monday, 23 September 2013
Adottato al 79° Congresso Mondiale a Reykjavik, settembre 2013
Il PEN International è una organizzazione mondiale di scrittori che promuove una cultura di pace basata sulla libertà di espressione, sul dialogo e sullo scambio. Ha tra i compiti principali quello di vegliare sulla diversità linguistica e culturale e sulla vitalità delle culture e delle lingue, che siano parlate da molte o da poche persone. Noi ci consideriamo una parte integrante del luogo in cui viviamo, che si parli di comunità o di ambiente, locale o globale. L’ambiente non ci serve solo per sopravvivere, ma anche per esplicare al suo interno la nostra creatività. Con questo spirito, e tramite il suo Comitato degli Scrittori per la Pace, il PEN affronta situazioni che possono portare al conflitto oppure a nuove modalità di convivenza tra persone e popoli. Il Comitato degli Scrittori per la Pace del PEN International ha approvato a tale fine un Manifesto che afferma l’universalità del diritto alla pace, basato sulla Dichiarazione di Lugano del 1987 per la Pace e la Libertà, sull’Appello di Linz del 2009 contro il Degrado dell’Ambiente, e sulla Dichiarazione di Belgrado del 2011 a favore del dialogo come percorso verso la pace.
- I membri del PEN lavorano allo sviluppo di un’idea di cittadinanza che unisca i popoli del mondo attraverso la letteratura e la discussione tra gli scrittori ed il grande pubblico.
- Una delle missioni principali del PEN è quella di facilitare e promuovere la discussione ed il dialogo tra scrittori di stati in conflitto o in regioni del mondo in cui siano ancora aperte delle ferite e non vi siano la volontà politica di curarle né la capacità di guarirle.
- La libertà di espressione e la creatività in tutte le sue forme è un valore fondamentale, il cui unico limite consiste nel rispetto degli altri. Ciò è in accordo con i diritti umani fondamentali formulati nella Dichiarazione Universale del 1948 e ratificata dalle Nazioni Unite.
- I membri del PEN rispettano l’ambiente in conformità con le Dichiarazioni ONU di Rio del 1992 e del 2012, anche se esse non lo menzionano esplicitamente nei loro lavori. Di conseguenza essi condannano gli eccessi tecnologici e la speculazione finanziaria che contribuiscono all’impoverimento di larga parte della popolazione mondiale.
- I membri del PEN considerano una della maggiori sfide a livello mondiale il passaggio dalla violenza bruta al dibattito, alla discussione ed al dialogo, e vogliono essere parte attiva in questo cambiamento. Se necessario, il PEN ricorrerà al diritto internazionale nelle sedi opportune.
- Essi convengono inoltre che sia di primaria importanza l’ impegnarsi in via permanente nel creare le condizioni che possano portare alla fine dei conflitti di ogni tipo. Non c’è libertà senza pace, e non c’è pace senza libertà e giustizia politica e sociale.
- Il PEN affronterà l’ingiustizia e la violenza ovunque esse si annidino, e ciò comprende l’oppressione, la colonizzazione, l’occupazione illegale ed il terrorismo. Rispetterà e difenderà altresì la dignità di ogni essere umano.
- In applicazione dei principi della libertà d’espressione e della giustizia, singoli individui o gruppi coinvolti in conflitti potranno rivolgere petizioni ed appelli alle Istituzioni internazionali ed alle Autorità di governo.
- Bambini e bambine di ogni parte del mondo hanno il diritto di ricevere un’educazione sui temi della pace all’interno dei programmi scolastici. Il PEN si farà sempre carico di promuovere l’esercizio di questo diritto.
- Il diritto alla pace deve essere riconosciuto dalle Nazioni Unite come un diritto umano fondamentale.
(Traduzione in italiano di Antonio Della Rocca – PEN Trieste)
Monday, 16 September 2013
Saturday 7, 2013
A long, long trip to Iceland. Late arrival with bad weather – at least for Italian standards in September.Sunday 8, 2013
Some problem with the room reservation, luckily solved. Short informal meeting with the Board and the Chairs of Committees. First Icelandic dinner at the hotel :o)
Some problem with the room reservation, luckily solved. Short informal meeting with the Board and the Chairs of Committees. First Icelandic dinner at the hotel :o)
Bad weather, but not so bad as yesterday.
The venue of the Congress – the Harpa - is a fantastic, incredible black glass building one can’t forget. Busy from 10.00 to 15.30 with Board matters, literary walk in Reykjavik with readings of stories of monster and trolls. First recognition of the town centre, dinner at an Icelandic Restaurant.
Monday 9, 2013
Not so bad a weather – possibly only a normal late summer day, but thanks to the Icelandic gods it doesn’t rain.
Work starts at 9.00 with the meeting of the 4 Standing Committees. Attended to the Writers for Peace Committee, of which the Trieste PEN is a member, while Lina Morselli as a Delegate attended that of Women Writers Committee, of which we are also a member (see pic).
I attended briefly myself the WWC meeting, but had to go back for the election of the new Chair of WfPC in substitution of Edvard Kovac (Slovene PEN). The new Chair is Tone Peršak (Slovene PEN): his election has to be ratified by the General Assembly. Lunch follows, then more work in the WfPC, preparing the Peace Committee Manifesto.
Before the Welcome Dinner a long stroll in the city. The dinner was at the Congress venue, with the presence of the President of the Icelandic PEN Sjón and the mayor of Reykjavik (a very interesting, funny guy).
Tuesday 10, 2013
When I woke up (6.00…) the sky was more or less blue with some clouds. In the moment we went to the venue (10 minutes walk) it was windy and cloudy. During the day it rained cats and dogs. The General Assembly started with the customary retard of half an hour at 9.30 J with a welcome of the President, the In Memoriam and the usual official procedures.
Then we went trough an hour of free interventions of the Centres about the most different topics. After the coffee break, we heard the official Reports of the President, the International Secretary and the Treasurer with many interventions of Delegates. Before lunch the President announced the new PEN Centres that will be proposed at a later stage, Myanmar and Dehli.
The session went on with the Reports of the Board (which was read part in French by Sylvestre Clancier and part in Spanish by me), the Executive Director and of all the Chairs of the Standing Committees. There was also a Report of Icorn and of the Emergency Fund. All these were approved after discussion.
In general terms there are more Centres (over 70) and Delegates present that I would have expected, many of them not even comprised in the list of participants we were given in the Delegate’s package.
After lunch there were meetings of the many Networks of PEN. Personally I attended the Fundación Iberoamericana meeting, and afterwards attended the joint meeting of the Balkan Network and of the new Euro-Mediterranean Network.
This evening Lina and me will experiment a new restaurant, I do not know yet which one. The choice was Vid Tjornina, excellent.
Wednesday 11, 2013
Weather as usual.
The most important issue of this morning was the presentation and elections of the International Secretary, the International Treasurer and three Members at Large of the Board.
Takeaki Hori (PEN Japan) was re-elected with 64 votes and 7 abstentions, Jarkko Tontti (PEN Finland) was elected Treasurer with 68 votes and 3 abstentions.
Of the four candidates to the Board, Anders Heger (PEN Norway) was elected with 59 votes and Gil-won Lee (PEN Korea) was re-elected with 44 votes. The other two candidates, Philo Ikonya (PEN Kenya) and Mohamed Sheriff (PEN Sierra Leone) got 39 votes each, so the elections has to be repeated tomorrow.
Many resolution were approved, one of them about freedom of expression in Russia, which was delivered by the Delegates to the Russian Ambassador in Iceland (see pic).
In the afternoon the winners of the New Voices Award – Masande Ntshanga of South Africa, José Pablo Salas of México and Claire Battershill of Canada – were presented and some interesting speeches of writers followed in the frame of the Free the word! Festival.
The Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta (PEN Chile) did attend the Congress as well as the Free the word! Festival. His intervention was in the same evening as of that of James Fenton, an English poet.
We were received at the Nordic Hall by the Minister of Culture.
At 19.00 I called it a day :o)
Thursday 12, 2013
Weather as always, say a bit better in the course of the day.
Two new Centres were presented to the General Assembly. The proposed Dehli Centre was presented by Philip Slayton of PEN Canada, and represented by Kiran Desai. It was accepted unanimously.
The proposed Centre Myanmar was presented by Anders Heger of PEN Norway and represented by Nay Phone Latt. Also this Centre was approved unanimously.
The PEN Cameroon was declared dormant, as well as the PEN Israel, in the hope to have a new solution at hand before the prescribed year of dormancy will elapse.
The PEN Greece was declared closed: there are hopes that a new group of writers can take over in a short time.
Other resolution already approved by the T&LRC were adopted.
A new election between Philo Ikonya and Mohamed Sheriff gave a result of 32 to 32, and another election had to be foreseen immediately.
In the meanwhile some communications were made to the Assembly.
The new election proclaimed Mohamed Sheriff as the new Member at Large of the Board (33 vs. 32). A big hug with thanks to Philo for her three years on the Board and a hearty welcome to Mohamed.
The last version of the Bled Manifesto of the WfPC was adopted unanimously.
Émile Martel (PEN Québec) presented shortly the project of a 2015 Congress in Québec.
Dalmira Tilepbergenova (Central Asia PEN) and the Minister of Culture of Kirgizstan presented the project of the 2014 Congress in Bishkek, which was accepted by the Assembly.
In the afternoon there were at the Nordic House some readings and Masande Ntshanga of South Africa was awarded the Price of New Voices Award.
Afterwards we were invited to the City Hall to a reception given by the Mayor of Reykjavik.
Friday 13 and Saturday 14
A great improvement in weather – practically no clouds, but this does not mean that you will not get some rain. On a tee-shirt I saw in Reykjavik it was written “If you don’t like our weather, just wait 5 minutes... “
After the Presse Conference the Board and the Chairs of the Committees (see pic) went to a retreat in Viðey, an island 15 minutes away from Reykjavik, no way to get out of it (as we realized late in the evening when we did not see the boat that should have taken us at the hotel. It finally arrived, a misunderstanding in the timetables).
Another Board meeting took place on Saturday morning at the Harpa.
A bit of shopping in the afternoon and our plane waited for us in Keflavik at 01.00 of Sunday 15.
Monday, 3 June 2013
In the moment the Facebook page PEN International on Facebook has reached its 400th member, I think it is opportune to publish again on this blog the quasi-manifest which it is founded upon.
A QUASI-MANIFEST FOR PEN INTERNATIONAL ON FACEBOOK
this Group has been opened – to say founded would sound a bit bombastic – three months ago. I confess that at that moment I had no idea that it would have been so successful, because to have 104 members is a goal I did not think could be reached in so small a time.
In view of this (little) success I feel it could be opportune to try to define what we are, what we are doing (or trying to do) and why.
This is not a manifest, which I don’t have neither the authority nor the wish to write: anyone of you is absolutely free to comment and to disagree, and your comments will help us to decide whether we have taken the right path or if we have to adjust the course.
The Group is an open one, dedicated to PEN members but not exclusive. One of the reasons of this document is to give to people asking to become members of the Group a clear idea of what kind of contents we are interested into and avoid to become a mess of passers-by.
There is no limitation to the contents, but these are supposed to be related to our quality of PEN members: literary topics and issues about translations or linguistic rights, as well as about freedom of expression – including the safeguard of writers -, keeping and promotion of peace. We know what’s it all about.
In my opinion we should also try to inform and keep informed about the initiatives of our respective PEN Centres, to signal the works of our colleagues which are already translated to other languages (and those we deserve to be), to maintain communication channels open between PEN Centres of different parts of the world.
This activity, at that degree of detail, is not in contrast with the activity developed by the PEN International website, which has to achieve many more institutional goals. Our role has to be one of support, in all the small areas this website cannot cover. It could be a role of incitement too, why not?
In order to do so, we should try to attract – I would say to lure, because many of our colleagues don’t like Facebook, worse, they don’t trust it – into this social network as many members of PEN as possible. Not because it is a heaven, only for the practical reason that it’s the most widespread one, and it allows more space for discussion than e.g. Twitter.
People fear a loss of personal data, a breach in privacy. Apart from the fact that nobody can steal data you do not put online, in my opinion there is no opportunity without a certain degree of risk, and vice versa. I personally have considered the possibility to vastly improve my communication a game worth the candle.
Anyway, we should try to find out as many PEN members as possible that are already more or less active on Facebook and ask them to join our Group. You all are well aware that a number of the present 104 members are leading members or Officers in their respective Centre: some are even Officers of PEN International. However, this Group is designed to accept any member and also non-members that are genuinely interested in our activity.
Writers are busy people, so it’s physiological that they at best have a look at the page and don’t interact: even so, our page is very lively.
It would be fantastic if in average everyone of us would visit the page once a week, possibly leaving a short message or at least utilizing the “Like” button, if he/she actually likes some post.
May I recall that not only English, but also French and Spanish are official languages of PEN?
But in the very end we have to ask ourselves non only what we can do in order to further our communication, and how to do it.
The real question is: why are we trying to build a sort of virtual Speaker’s Corner in a Facebook’s Hyde Park, where everybody can climb on a wooden box and start communicating to everybody else in transit his/her ideas and debate with them?
In my opinion this kind of exercise is vital if we want PEN to become a so-called flat organisation.
An international body with 145 Centres in 104 countries is too big to rely on two-way communication protocols like ordinary or electronic post. In the world of today we need easier and user-friendly forms of expression and it would be a mistake not to utilize the existent ones.
We have to debate openly if we agree with the present form of organization or if we would prefer some other organizational model, if we think this organization is apt to represent the Centres, the members, the geographical and linguistic areas and their interests, if the full membership can be granted to readers and to young people and in which form.
In the Congress of Tokyo there has been an attempt to free discussion that has to be further implemented.
Maybe democracy is too big a word for it, but I think you know what I mean. The same fact that you have decreed a certain success to this Group is a good proof for that.
Thanks to you all for your attention and for your cooperation.
January 26, 2011