Sunday, July 25, 2010

PEN READS: THE HOUR OF THE STAR







PEN  American Center


PEN READS: THE HOUR OF THE STAR

A new entry has been posted at PEN Reads, an online reading group that brings together readers and writers to discuss works of literature relevant to PEN's mission. In our second post, Ben Moser, award-winning author of the Clarice Lispector biography Why This World, explores his and others' fascination with the Brazilian author. In the first post, Colm Tóibín compared reading the novel to "being brought backstage during the performance of a play and allowed odd glimpses of the actors and the audience."

I Am All of Yourselves
by Ben Moser

Over the five years I worked on Why This World, my biography of Clarice Lispector, I got used to hearing people say: But I've never heard of her.

And I would say: That's the whole point.

One of the fun things about being a writer or a critic or a journalist is the chance to steer other people toward your enthusiasms, and to help put artists on the map who haven't received the attention they deserve. I hoped that my biography would make people see just how great Clarice Lispector was, and why I was ready to give up several years of my life in order to study and write about her.

I did, however, have a secret weapon: I knew I wasn't the only one.

Read the entire post and join the discussion online at PEN.org





PEN American Center | 588 Broadway Suite 303 | New York | NY | 10012

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Herta Müller

The 2009 Nobel prize has been awarded to Herta Müller, for depicting the 'landscape of the dispossessed' with 'the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose'
Herta Müller (born 17 August 1953) is a Romanian-born German Nobel Prize-winning novelist, poet and essayist noted for her works depicting the effects of violence, cruelty and terror, usually in the setting of Communist Romania under the repressive Nicolae Ceauşescu regime which she experienced herself. Many of her works are told from the viewpoint of the German minority in Romania and are also a depiction of the modern history of the Germans in the Banat, and more broadly, Transylvania. Her much acclaimed 2009 novel Everything I Possess I Carry With Me portrays the deportation of Romania's German minority to Stalinist Soviet Gulags during the Soviet occupation of Romania for use as German forced labor.

Müller has been an internationally well-known author since the early 1990s, and her works have been translated into more than 20 languages. She has received over 20 awards, including the 1994 Kleist Prize, the 1995 Aristeion Prize, the 1998 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the 2009 Franz Werfel Human Rights Award. On 8 October 2009 it was announced that she had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Everything I Possess I Carry With Me (German: Atemschaukel) is a novel by German Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller, published in 2009 by Carl Hanser Verlag. It is a depiction of the persecution of ethnic Germans in Romania by the Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union, and deals with the deportation of Romanian Germans to Gulag camps by Soviet occupying forces during and after 1945. The novel tells the story of a youth from Hermannstadt (Sibiu) in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania), Leo Auberg, who is deported at the age of 17 to a Soviet forced labor concentration camp in Nowo-Gorlowka (Novogorlovka, Ukraine, now incorporated in Gorlovka) and spends five years of his life there. It is inspired by the experiences of poet Oskar Pastior and other survivors, including the mother of the author. Initially, Pastior and Müller had planned to write a book about his experiences together, however, Pastior died in 2006.


A long write ups will added here soon

Thursday, July 15, 2010

PEN Reads Now Live on PEN.org‏


PEN READS NOW LIVE ON PEN.ORG

PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, announced today the launch of PEN Reads, an online reading group that will bring readers and writers together to discuss works of literature relevant to PEN’s mission. Colm Tóibín opened the group with his essay on Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star (New Directions), the inaugural book chosen for PEN Reads.

Each book will be discussed for five weeks on the PEN web site, which will feature a series of posts by writers, translators, scholars, and other prominent literary figures. They will discuss the novel and its author and how the book speaks to PEN’s mission to foster support for basic human rights and promote mutual understanding through the shared experience of literature.

Readers are encouraged to comment on each post and participate in a larger dialogue with the discussion’s contributors and with each other by visiting www.pen.org/penreads.

The initiative was created by PEN’s Membership Committee under the leadership of former Chair Jaime Manrique. He says, “PEN Reads’ choice of The Hour of the Star by the great, and incomparable, Clarice Lispector as its inaugural author reaffirms PEN’s commitment to honor, and help preserve, the literary legacy of the writers of the world whose works matter in a major way.”

The Hour of the Star is currently available from booksellers everywhere.

About PEN American Center

PEN American Center is the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries. PEN American Center, founded a year later, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. Its 3,400 distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and the advancement of human rights of such past members as James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O’Neill, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck. To learn more about PEN American Center, please visit: www.pen.org.

PEN welcomes readers and writers from all walks of life to join us in our mission to protect free expression and to celebrate literature. To learn more about Membership, please visit: pen.org/join.

For more information, contact Nick Burd at (212) 334-1660 ext. 108.




PEN American Center | 588 Broadway, Suite 303 | New York, NY 10012 | (212) 334-1660

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sequels, Prequels & Zombies

Sequels, Prequels & Zombies

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road , London EC1R 3GA

Tuesday 6 July, 6.30pm

£8/£5 members

A new beginning, an alternative ending, a subversive twist or a questioning narrative eye - there are any number of ways to give new life to a classic and send characters spinning into a future undreamed-of in the original. Join authors Philip Hensher, Lee Langley and Ali Smith as they discuss the dangers and pleasures in transforming the life of an existing work of art. Chaired by Jonathan Heawood .

http://www.englishpen.org/usr/hensher.jpg Philip Hensher is the author of several novels and a collection of short stories including Other Lulus, Kitchen Venom and Pleasured. He is a regular broadcaster and contributes reviews and articles to various newspapers and journals including The Spectator, the Mail on Sunday and The Independent. In 2003, he was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. His latest novel is The Northern Clemency (2008), shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book).

http://www.englishpen.org/usr/langley.jpgLee Langley is the author of nine highly praised novels including Changes of Address (shortlisted for the Hawthornden Prize) and Persistent Rumours (winner of a Commonwealth Writers' prize), a volume of short stories, poetry and journalism. Her adaptation of The Tenth Man, based on a Graham Greene story, was made into an award-winning movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Derek Jacobi. Her most recent book was A Conversation on the Quai Voltaire. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in London . Her new novel, Butterfly's Shadow, is a sweeping and affecting novel that takes Puccini's much loved Madame Butterfly as its dramatic starting point.

http://www.englishpen.org/usr/alismith.png.jpgAli Smith is the author of several novels and short story collections including Free Love and Other Stories, Like, Hotel World which was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Booker Prize for Fiction. The Accidental published in 2004, won the 2005 Whitbread Novel Award, and Girl Meets Boy, a re-working of Ovid's metamorphosis was published in 2007. Her most recent book, The Book Lover is a personal anthology of favourite pieces of writing gathered over the course of her life.

Book online or call the English PEN office on 020 7324 2535.

Bi Feiyu in the UK

We are pleased to announce that Bi Feiyu, author of Three Sisters and one of China ’s most respected authors and playwrights, will be coming to the UK in July. Three Sisters presents a vivid picture of life in rural and urban Communist China in the 1970s and 1980s under Mao Zedong. It is also a deeply humanist portrayal of three sisters as they fight to take control of their lives and a timely exploration of the themes of human rights and the place of women in a deeply patriarchal culture.

Bi will be taking part in two events, which we hope you will be able to attend:

Bi Feiyu in conversation with Richard Lea

Tuesday 20 July, 6.30pm

The Gallery at Foyles, Charing Cross Road , London WC2H 0EB

FREE

In a rare UK appearance, Bi Feiyu joins us in the Gallery to discuss his new novel Three Sisters, an epic portrayal of life in modern China . This event is free- email events@foyles.co.uk to reserve a place.

Film Night with Bi Feiyu

Wednesday 21 July, 6.30pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road , London EC1R 3GA

FREE

On Wednesday, Bi Feiyu joins Arifa Akbar of the Independent and Isabel Hilton, renowned journalist, broadcaster and expert in Chinese affairs, to discuss his work and his experience of adapting fiction for the screen. The discussion will be followed by a screening of the Golden Globe nominated Shanghai Triad, a tale of excess and corruption set in the criminal underworld of 1930s Shanghai .

This event is free – please email bookings@freewordonline.com to reserve a place.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Turkey: Publisher acquitted - Writer sentenced to 15 months

Turkey: Publisher Ragip Zarakolu acquitted - Writer Mehmet Guler sentenced to 15 months

Published: June 15, 2010

English PEN was pleased to learn that our Honorary Member, publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu who has been subject to harassment, trials and periods of imprisonment since the 1970s, was acquitted at a hearing on 10 June. On trial in Turkey since May 2009, Zarakolu faces a prison sentence of more than seven years for publishing the novel More difficult Decisions than Death written by N. Mehmet Güler. Both Zarakolu and Güler were accused under article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law of "spreading propaganda" for the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). At the same trial, Mehmet Güler was convicted to a fifteen month prison term. While English PEN welcomes the acquittal of Ragip Zarakolu, it is disappointed by the conviction of Mehmet Güler, an act that breaches Turkey's obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Mehmet Güler remains free as he appeals against the sentence.

Attending the trial were Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary of International PEN, and Alexis Krikorian of the International Publisher's Association. Schoulgin commented on the conviction: "In November 2009, the prosecutor did not want to proceed with the case. In March 2010, a new prosecutor reversed that decision and decided to go ahead. It is not only Turkish legislation which needs reform. Practice also needs change and stability. Additionally, it is not only the big names attracting media attention like Elif Shafak or Orhan Pamuk, who need acquittal. The lesser-known names need acquittals too, in those freedom of expression trials."

Zarakolu, aged 62, has been fighting for freedom of expression in Turkey for over 30 years, publishing books on issues including minority and human rights.

Recommended Actions:

Please send appeals to the Turkish authorities:

- Welcoming the acquittal of Ragip Zarakolu but expressing concern that the author Mehmet Güler was sentenced to a prison term;
- Pointing out that if Güler's sentence is a violation of Turkey's commitments under both Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Expressing the hope that Mehmet Güler will be granted a full acquittal following his appeal hearing;
- Urging that the Turkish government will take this opportunity to reconsider how it handles cases of freedom of expression and to review all relevant laws with a view to bringing them into accord with international human rights standards, in particular the ICCPR and European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.

Send to:

Mr Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara
Turkey
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370

Please also send copies to the Turkish Ambassador in the UK:

His Excellency Mehmet Yiğit Alpogan
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Fax: 020 7393 0066

For further details contact Sara Whyatt at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER UK Tel: 44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax: 44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: wipc@internationalpen.org.uk

http://www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/turkeypublisherragipzarakoluacquitted-writermehmetgulersentencedto15months/

more relative info :


Turkey: Publisher and human rights activist faces imprisonment

Published: June 1, 2010

Ragip Zarakolu, publisher and human rights activist, who has been subject to harassment, trials and periods of imprisonment since the 1970s, is expecting a verdict at his next trial hearing in two weeks, on 10 June 2010. On trial in Turkey since May 2009, Zarakolu faces a prison sentence of more than seven years for publishing the novel More difficult Decisions than Death written by N. Mehmet Güler. Both Zarakolu and Güler are accused under article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law of "spreading propaganda" for the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). If Zarakolu is convicted on 10 June, English PEN will consider Turkey to be in breach of its obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ragip Zarakolu, aged 62, has been fighting for freedom of expression in Turkey for over 30 years, publishing books on issues including minority and human rights. As one of the 50 writers chosen to represent the struggle for freedom of expression since 1960 for the International PEN Writers in Prison Committee's 50th Anniversary Campaign - Because Writers Speak Their Minds - Zarakolu's case is emblematic of the ongoing struggles many writers, publishers and freedom of expression and human rights activists in Turkey continue to face.

Background

After a military coup in 1971, Zarakolu was among large numbers of writers who were arrested. He served three years in prison for his refusal to abandon his campaign for freedom of thought, striving for an "attitude of respect for different thoughts and cultures to become widespread in Turkey." Since his writings were repeatedly banned in Turkey, Zarakolu began to turn his attention to abuses of human rights by governments in South America and elsewhere. For twenty years, between 1971 and 1991, Zarakolu was banned from travelling outside Turkey.

In 1977 Zarakolu and his wife, Ayse Nur, set up the Belge Publishing House. Since then, Zarakolu has put Turkish censorship laws to the test by translating and publishing controversial books from Armenian and Greek authors into the Turkish language. As a result, Zarakolu has been sentenced to imprisonment several times. Prior to the military coup of September 1980 Belge mostly published academic and theoretical books. After the coup, Belge started to publish a series of books written by political prisoners. Zarakolu's office was firebombed by an extremist rightist group in 1995, forcing it to be housed in a cellar. Zarakolu's staunch belief in freedom of expression, his vocal campaign against book bannings, and his persistence in publishing works that violate Turkey's repressive censorship laws have resulted in a catalogue of indictments against him.

Zarakolu founded Demokrat, a newspaper which was banned after the military coup in 1980, and was one of the 98 founders of the Human Rights Association in Turkey. For some time he chaired the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN in Turkey and is the chairperson of the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association.

English PEN urges the court to take into consideration Turkey' obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights when considering Zarakolu's case.

Recommended Actions

Please send appeals:

- Expressing concern about the continuing trial of Ragip Zarakolu;
- Pointing out that if he were to be convicted, Turkey would be in violation of its obligations both under Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- Expressing the hope that Ragip Zarakolu will be granted a full acquittal;
- Urging that the Turkish government will take this opportunity to reconsider how it handles cases of freedom of expression and to review all relevant laws with a view to bringing them into accord with international human rights standards, in particular the ICCPR and European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.

Appeals to:

Mr Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara
Turkey
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370

Please also send copies to the Turkish Ambassador in the UK:

His Excellency Mehmet Yiğit Alpogan
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Fax: 020 7393 0066

For further details contact Sara Whyatt at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER UK Tel: 44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax: 44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: wipc@internationalpen.org.uk

http://www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/turkeypublisherandhumanrightsactivistfacesimprisonment/

Tributes:José Saramago


José Saramago tributes: a message to all PEN Centres from Portuguese PEN


Dear colleagues in PEN Centres and PEN Committees worldwide,

José Saramago died on the 18.6.2010. He was one of the most engaged citizens of literature of our times and just some days before his death he wrote on his blog some lines about the importance of educating individuals for peace as the promotion of the capacity lo listen to the Other. We in Portuguese PEN consider him as one of the most distinguished examples of the values of the PEN Charter, as well as a creator of great universal literature.

If you would like to send us a personal note about José Saramago (no more than six lines, with a translation in one of the three PEN working languages), send it to geral@penclubeportugues.org under the title Saramago. It will be posted in our blog Graphias. Please spread this message among the members of your Centre. Please remark that only signed messages from PEN members will be posted, and the Centre must be named too.

Best regards,
Teresa Salema
President of the Portuguese PEN Centre
www.penclubeportugues.org


Source : http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/jos-saramago-tributes-a-message-to-all-pen-centres-from-portuguese-pen


http://graphias.penclubeportugues.org/

The Writers for Peace condemning individual terrorism as well as State terrorism

Writers for Peace Committee responds to events of 31st May


Statement of the Writers for Peace Committee of International PEN Concerning the Tragic Events of May 31, 2010

The Writers for Peace Committee follows the Lugano Declaration in condemning individual terrorism as well as State terrorism; we declare that those who resort to violence, even for a good cause, "annull the missions to which they are dedicated and lose all claims to legitimacy" (quoted from the Statement of the 50th Congress of International PEN in Lugano, Switzerland, May 1987).

We declare that:

1. Nothing justifies the violence and murders that the army of the State of Israel have perpetrated against the people on the ships that brought humanitarian aid to Gaza. The use of firearms was entirely out of proportion and unsuitable as a response to the resistance put up by the people on board. We strongly condemn these murders and regret the deaths.

2. We protest against the grave violation of the right to freedom of expression of the journalists on board.

3. We demand that the government of the State of Israel agree that an international committee investigate and throw light on the events and establish responsibility.

4. To prevent the recurrence of such events, we demand that the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority accept the international monitoring of all ships so that the blockade can be lifted.

5. We ask that the two States, that of Israel which is already in existence, and that of the people of Palestine which has yet to be established as soon as possible, recognise one another. We believe that the only way to achieve the peaceful coexistence of the two States is through dialogue.

6. It is the role of the international community through its institutions to make this political dialogue possible. It must draw on the resources of the respective cultures, particularly the literary ones, of the two peoples whose writers never cease to bear witness, and who are committed to the accomplishment of peace.

June 14, 2010

Dr. Edvard Kovac

President of the Writers for Peace Committee of International PEN

Eugene Schoulgin

Secretary General of International PEN

Source : http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/news/writers-for-peace-committee-responds-to-events-of-31st-may