Category Archives: Uncategorized

Edna O’Brien’s TSL Eliot Lecture (Abbey Theatre) 15th December 2020

To celebrate Edna O’Brien’s 90th Birthday, she will give this year’s TSL Eliot Lecture at the Abbey Theatre.

The fifth in a series of lectures inspired by T. S. Eliot’s impact on modern literature. The 2020 T. S. Eliot lecture, on Eliot and Joyce, is delivered by Edna O’Brien and premiered from the Irish Embassy in London on her 90th birthday, 15th December. Running Order: Introduction by Adrian O’Neill, Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom Sinéad Cusack performs Eliot’s ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ Edna O’Brien lecture Post-event interview with Edna O’Brien and Andrew O’Hagan The lecture premieres at 7.30pm on 15th December and will be available to watch until 15th January 2021. Note: This lecture was edited for broadcast. A full transcript of the lecture will be available in a print version in the New Year.

This lecture will be available online for a limited time:

Edna O’Brien received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2001.

Brian Friel RIP

It is with immense sadness that members of Irish PEN learned of the death of Brian Friel, a winner of the Irish PEN Award in 2000, Brian was President of Irish PEN from 2003 onwards. He was an outstanding playwright and shed lustre on the Irish literary scene for many years. He will be greatly missed by his friends and admirers worldwide and not least by members of Irish PEN.

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin (Chair)


Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Day of Impr Writer LOGO (2)Mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer @ the Dublin Book Festival; book your ticket at:, and listen to Arena on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, November 6th to hear more about the writers involved around the world –

Please see below for details of how to nominate your choice of author for Irish PEN’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature –

At 6pm on November 15th, as part of the Dublin Book Festival at Smock Alley Theatre, Irish PEN looks forward to marking the Day of the Imprisoned Writer with poet, scriptwriter and broadcaster Theo Dorgan, international news analyst and Newstalk broadcaster Shona Murray, and Afghanistan-based journalist and Human Rights defender Jamila Omar.

Every year, around the world, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer celebrates and supports writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information and insight.

Theo DorganIn a 60 minute event, Theo, Shona and Jamila will read from the work of writers based around the world who have been punished and targeted because they had the courage to speak their minds; challenging injustice and confronting governments and oppressive regimes far afield and closer to home.

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer is proudly hosted by Irish PEN and Front Line Defenders. Irish PEN are delighted that it will form part of the Dublin Book Festival for the first time this year.

Tickets to this event are free but limited – we look forward to seeing you there.

Calling all PEN members – please submit your nominations for Irish PEN ‘s 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature.

Front Line DefendersYou may submit your nominations to this address, and renew your membership sub at Past PEN Award winners include John Banville, Joseph O’Connor, Brendan Kennelly, Roddy Doyle, Neil Jordan, Edna O’Brien, Irish PEN’s President Brian Friel, William Trevor, Jennifer Johnston and Thomas Kilroy. Past Award winners who are no longer with us include Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and Maeve Binchy. We will update you on details of our Award presentation and dinner, which will take place in early 2014.

Please see for more information about Irish PEN, our members and our annual award.

You can view the flyer here.

Shona Murray

Letter from Bled, Report on Pen’s 45th International Writers Meeting


Report on Pen’s 45th International Writers Meeting

Pen’s 45th International Writers Meeting was held at Bled from 8 to 12 May 2013. Delegates representing 34 centres from across the world attended.  The delegates were welcomed by Dr Uros Grilc, the Slovenian minister for culture.  Subsequently they were entertained by a presentation of the culture and literary traditions of the central region of Slovenia.

The first theme discussed was ‘Literary Creation, from the Periphery to the Centre’. It was recognised that in terms of ideology this was a basic dynamic in society.  Each Periphery gradually draws nearer to the Centre, eventually replacing it and prompting the process to repeat itself. 

The second topic was the writer as a traveller creating peace. This resonated with the delegates. Clearly travel enables people to get beyond viewing other peoples in terms of their stereotypes.  It also provides an opportunity to appreciate the cultural roots and riches of those residing in different parts of the world.  The result is a genuine respect and regard for the otherness in peoples.There was unanimity that extending boundaries in this way is a creator of peace both within and without.

The Pen Declaration on Digital Freedom passed at the International Congress in Gyeongju, Korea, in 2012 was discussed.  Four articles were appended to it to clarify how it would affect the Targeting of individuals, Censorship, Surveillance and Business and Human Rights.

The agenda of the General Assembly of the Writers for Peace Committee of International Pen included: Situation in Asia (China) (a) Tibet and (b) Uyghars; Peace in the Middle East and the Mediterranean (a) Israelo-Palestinian Relations, (b) Turkey (c) Question of Kurds.  Reports indicated the complex issues inherent in the troubles in those areas.  It was surprising how little attention was given to the extraordinary role of Israel and its ally the US in the continuing difficulties in the Middle East.  The interference of outside powers and the Anglo-American propaganda which fomented and maintains the tragic civil war in Syria also received little attention.

The Pen International Women Writers Committee reported that in some parts of the world there had been progress towards women achieving their full human rights but that a long road in that direction had yet to be travelled by the Sisters.

J. Anthony Gaughan

Timothy Conway

Presenting to Sell: Making the Most of the Media – For Newly Published Authors

Presenting to Sell: Making the Most of the Media – for newly published authors

As a continuation of the National Emerging Writer Programme, UNESCO Dublin City of Literature and Irish PEN are hosting a FREE one day event for authors, Saturday June 15th 10.30-4.00pm showing them how to make the most of public and media appearances, both traditional and online

For Authors

Identify angles in order to pitch your message to the media, find out how to look and sound good on TV, how to present your ideas on radio and how to hold an audience at a reading. Find out how to deliver your message to the biggest possible audience using social media.

All authors need a great author photo for press and PR. Professional photographer Paul Sherwood is offering a special rate of €30 for authors to get their photograph taken on the day, during the lunch break (must be pre-booked when you book your place, cash payment on the day).

Authors can also avail of this great rate by visiting his studio in Blackrock, County Dublin by contacting him at at: Mobile: 087 230 9096 e-mail:

Television Appearances

MTVs Emma Ledden, a specialist in corporate communications, will coach participants on how to appear on TV, how to communicate your message effectively, how to sit and what to wear. How do you relax in front of the cameras? How do you make sure your book is mentioned?

Making the Most of Radio

Radio offers wide opportunities for authors, from local to national stations all looking for content. How do you get yourself onto radio? Should you settle for a phone interview or go into studio? What notes should you bring, how much preparation should you do?

Public Readings

Author Declan Hughes has extensive experience in theatre and knows how to deliver a reading. Declan will be covering what to read, how to read it and how to hold an audience at a public reading, demonstrating what works and what doesn’t.

The Power of the Internet

The internet is a free tool that can launch careers. Find out from independent technology consultant, trainer and internet marketer Darina Loakman how best to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to generate traffic to your blog or website and how best to maximise your website’s potential.

Make the most of every opportunity to develop your author profile!

To book contact or Tel: 01 6744862


Facilitator biographies

Emma Ledden

Emma is a Master Trainer and has one of the most notable Presentation and Media CV’s in this country.  Straight out of school at the age of 17 Emma began working with RTE on The Den. She presented and produced her own slot for two and a half years, eventually presenting the daily 3 hour show.

Following this, Emma was chosen from thousands to be a VJ for MTV UK. This involved being in front of a television camera 5 days a week. Within 6 months Emma landed another very high profile television position. She was chosen to present BBC’s flagship programme Live and Kicking.

After this Emma turned her attention to radio. First she worked on a weekend magazine style show for Spin 1038 and then progressed to producing and presenting the breakfast programme on Dublin’s Q102. Emma still contributes to the media regularly and is a recurring panelist on TV3’s Midday show.

In 2003 Emma became a senior consultant with Carr Communications. She trained individuals and companies at all levels specialising in Presentation and Media Skills. Her ability to help a client overcome all the issues that arise with public communication is incomparable. In 2007 Emma set up Emma Ledden Communications and developed “Presenting to Sell”. Presenting to Sell is about taking the fear and confusion out of presentations. It will motivate, challenge and educate individuals to prepare and deliver inspiring presentations that engage, inspire and get results.

Declan Hughes

Declan Hughes is the author of the Ed Loy PI series: The Wrong Kind of Blood; The Colour of Blood; The Dying Breed (US: The Price of Blood); All The Dead Voices; and City of Lost Girls. His books have been nominated for the Edgar, CWA New Blood Dagger, Shamus and Macavity awards, and The Wrong Kind of Blood won the Shamus for Best First PI Novel. Declan is also an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, and the co-founder of Dublin’s Rough Magic Theatre Company.

Darina Loakman

Darina Is an independent technology consultant, trainer and internet marketer helping small independent business owners plan social media and digital strategies.

She’s a former Key Account Manager with a major travel GDS (Global Distribution Service), working in the non-travel division providing wide area networks and telecommunications to all types of business.  She was Chief Technology Officer of ICS-Skills being responsible for technology, internal networks and online strategies within the organisation. She built her first website in 1996 and has been online ever since!

Darina was the 2006 Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Awards. Her real enthusiasm is for showing others how to use technology, the internet and social media to make business life easier, in easy-to-understand non-technical language.