#100PENMembers No. 89: J.M. Coetzee

Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee is one of PEN International’s Vice Presidents and a frequent signatory to its many campaigns. His relationship with PEN has not always been easy, however. ‘While there is nothing special about writers as human beings,’ Coetzee remarked in  in an 2019 interview with our co-investigator Peter McDonald, ‘there is (sometimes) something special about … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 89: J.M. Coetzee

#100PENMembers No. 87: Ahtam Omer

Today’s #100PENMembers is prominent Uyghur writer Ahtam Omer, recently sentenced to twenty years in prison by the authorities of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. He is the author of a well-known short story Child of the Eagle and the popular novel Greetings to the Homeland from Distant Horizon, which depicts the author’s first travel abroad … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 87: Ahtam Omer

#100PENMembers No. 86: Philippe Sands

Philippe Sands is a British and French barrister, academic and author who specialises in international and human rights law, and has been President of English PEN since 2018, having served on the board of English PEN for five years prior to this appointment. Sands has written seventeen books on international law including East West Street: On … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 86: Philippe Sands

#100PENMembers No. 85: Empty Chair

Since the 1980s PEN International has used an Empty Chair at events to symbolise a writer missing from proceedings, either because they are imprisoned, threatened, disappeared or even killed. This highly symbolic move serves as a reminder of the violence and censorship faced by writers all over the world. Each year PEN Centres worldwide traditionally … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 85: Empty Chair

#100PENMembers No.83: Ahmet Altan

Ahmet Altan is a Turkish novelist and journalist imprisoned for life without parole for his journalism and media work. Altan is an award-winning writer and journalist in Turkey and is an outspoken critic of Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian government and particularly its treatment of Kurdish minorities within the country. His was one of PEN’s highest profile … Continue reading #100PENMembers No.83: Ahmet Altan

#100PENMembers No. 82: Lydia Cacho

Today’s #100PENMember is the truly inspirational Mexican journalist and human rights activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro. Cacho is famous for investigating violence against women and children, informed by her feminism and her desire to make Mexico a better, safer place to live. Her work is enormously dangerous, often operating at the intersections between Mexican politics and … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 82: Lydia Cacho

#100PENMembers No. 81: Maria Kuncewiczowa

Maria Kuncewiczowa was a Polish writer and novelist who was founder of PEN’s Writers in Exile Centre in 1952 and its first President. Kuncewiczowa, the child of Polish intellectuals exiled to Russia during her early years for their involvement in the 1863 Polish insurrection, was very active in the Polish PEN Club during the 1920s. … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 81: Maria Kuncewiczowa

#100PENMembers No. 80: György Konrád

György(George) Konrád was a Hungarian novelist and essayist who led PEN International from 1990-1993. A Hungarian Jew, Konrád and his sister had escaped their hometown of Berettyóújfalu after his parents were taken to Austria to a concentration camp. The children spent World War Two in a Swiss sponsored safehouse in Budapest and the family were re-united … Continue reading #100PENMembers No. 80: György Konrád