Scottish International Storytelling Festival | 21-30 October 2011

Every year the Scottish International Storytelling Festival presents a programme of storytelling showcasing the legends and myths of Scotland, in exploration with another corner of the globe, highlighting the power of storytelling as an ancient and modern artform.

Storytelling is a wonderful gateway to culture as its heritage is directly informed by the stories of place, and the Festival explores Scottish customs and international traditions.


Monthly letter from John Ralston Saul to the membership

Dear friends, Dear PEN members,

Those of you who were in Belgrade have had some time to report to your members. And all of you have received a fast, preliminary report from our Executive Director, Laura McVeigh – a very good new initiative. The cleared up resolutions have also gone out to you – again a new emphasis on getting action documents to you fast.

It was a very successful Congress, thanks to the incredible work of Serbian PEN. For those of you who were not in Belgrade , here are a few highlights:


PEN Jordan Call for Interference to Defend the Sudanese Thinker El Nayyal Abu Groun

PEN Jordan calls out to The International Pen Center and all its branches all over the world to interfere in order to put pressure on the Sudanese government and force it to prevent the instigation for killing the Sudanese thinker El Nayyal Abu Groun.

Some extremist groups hailed him as an infidel in the media as they passed judgment over his writing, burnt his books and went as far as to directly call for killing him. These groups threaten to kill instead of holding discussions and believe in prevention of ideas and burning books instead of carrying out any sort of dialogue.


Day of the Dead Campaign 2011

PEN centres from around the world have been telling us what they’re planning as part of the campaign. Below are some of the most inspiring highlights:

PEN Canada will be contacting schools in an attempt to persuade them to make altars and raise awareness of the plight of writers and journalists in Mexico . It is planning a speaking engagement with Luis Najera who worked for El Diario in Ciudad Juarez , and who escaped to Canada after receiving a death threat.


John Ralston Saul expressed his condolences to members of Czech, Austrian and German PEN

November 07, 2011

Dear Members of Czech PEN, Austrian PEN and German PEN,

This letter is addressed especially to you because at various times of Jiří Gruša's life you were his immediate PEN family.

The first shock of his death has now passed. Today I began to think about just how young Jiří was, and therefore how many words will not be written. All of us, I know, are also thinking of Jiří and Sabine; how close they were; how sad we must all be for Sabine.


Monthly letter from John Ralston Saul, International President, to the PEN membership

November 10, 2011

Dear PEN Members, Dear Friends,

Sixteen years ago today, our colleague Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by Nigerian officials for writing and speaking, and doing so persistently. I was in southern Tunisia with a group of writers and film makers when I heard the awful news. Many of us remember that day very specifically, with a sort of bitter shame.

PEN had worked hard for Ken Saro-Wiwa’s freedom; for his life. And we failed. And we felt that failure.


Day of the Dead November 2011

Summary of Activities

Dear Colleagues,

On 2 November 2011 PEN International launched its Day of the Dead campaign commemorating the Mexican writers and print journalists who have been murdered, or who have disappeared, as a result of their work. PEN called on the Mexican authorities to bring to justice those responsible for these crimes, and to bring to an end the climate of impunity in which these attacks and murders take place.