Nine Worlds Charity Partner: English PEN

English PEN

Proceeds from Nine Worlds 2013 went to support our charity partner, English PEN, the world's oldest human rights organisation. English PEN was the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries. For over 90 years, PEN has campaigned to defend writers and readers around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.

Since 1921, PEN has played an active part in promoting freedom of expression and literature around the world. In 1933 PEN’s president, H. G. Wells, led a campaign against the burning of books in Germany at a time when critical comments were still scarce from the international community about the actions of the Nazi Party. In the 1960s, PEN writers joined to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the treatment of writers in Nigeria, especially the imprisonment of Wole Soyinka. PEN played a prominent role in the late 1980s and 1990s, calling for the rescinding of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie and his publishers. In 2006 and 2007, after the murders of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the Armenian-Turkish newspaper editor Hrant Dink, PEN campaigned tirelessly for answers from Russian and Turkish authorities as to why and how such crimes could happen, and for justice to be brought to these writers and their families.

Today, PEN continues to campaign on behalf of writers across the globe who are persecuted, harassed and attacked for what they have written or simply for being a writer. They also run programmes and events celebrating the bond between literature and freedom of expression, believing that one cannot exist meaningfully without the other.

In 2009, nearly 20,000 children took part in education projects run by PEN Centres in Africa – for example, PEN provided intensive training to over 50 teachers in Uganda through its mentoring network. Through partnerships with local governments, Zambian PEN’s community libraries have influenced the country’s entire library system. Guinean PEN’s capsule libraries in 40 rural schools provided over 10,000 families with free access to textbooks. Such stories echo across the world in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Because of their important works, and because we think reading is just about the niftiest thing in the world, Nine Worlds was proud to support English PEN.

Visit the website of English PEN, and if you love them as much as we do, become a member: