English PEN is turning 100 this year. Founded in 1921, it is one of the world’s oldest human rights organizations. Among its many objectives are celebrating literary diversity, championing free expression and providing support for writers at risk.
As part of celebrations to mark its centenary, English PEN is hosting a three-day literary event at the Southbank Centre in London, from September 24 through 26. The program features prominent writers, activists, and intellectuals across the world engaging themes of “literature, exile, free expression, translation, activism, and solidarity, drawn from English PEN’s rich history of protecting writers and readers across the world.”
Among the impressive lineup for the event are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Elif Shafak, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Fatima Bhutto, Temi Oh, Hassan Blasim, Margaret Busby, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ellah P. Wakatama, Nadifa Mohamed, Tade Thompson, and Ahdaf Soueif.
Adichie, who was co-curator at the 2015 PEN World Voices Festival, will open the event with a reflective conversation around her newest book Notes on Grief and her writing in general, with columnist and author Nesrine Malik. Subsequent days will see other authors and activists conversing on varying issues including the possibility and limits of international writing, decolonizing literature, and the politics of translation, among others.