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)



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

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.





Getting Non-Fiction Published: Fergal Tobin,

author and commissioning editor at Gill & MacMillan.

Thursday 9th May 8pm United Arts Club, Dublin 2.

On May 9th at the UAC, Fergal Tobin, author and publishing director of Gill & Macmillan, discusses the essential elements of a great non-fiction book.   

How to submit, what to submit and how to get published: What are the key ingredients needed to write and sell non-fiction? In a market where non-fiction will always have a healthy share, how do you take your first step? Join us on May 9th and learn about the structures of non-fiction publishing and how the process differs from fiction.

Fergal Tobin has been publishing director of Gill & Macmillan since 1994. Among the books he has published are the monumental Encyclopaedia of Ireland; David McWilliams’ The Pope’s Children; Frank McDonald’s ground-breaking manifesto The Destruction of Dublin, a book that one reviewer said was “the best book published in Ireland since the Book of Kells”; Fintan O’Toole’s Irish Times Book of the Century; and, last autumn, Mary O’Rourke’s best-selling memoir Just Mary, which will appear in paperback later this month. In the course of his career, he has published almost 2,000 books. As an author, he writes popular history most often under the pseudonym Richard Killeen. The pseudonym is now being retired and his next book, The Irish Revolution 1912-25: an illustrated history, will appear next October under his own name, as will all future books.

Fergal was President of CLE/Publishing Ireland from 2002 to 2004 and was President of the Federation of European Publishers, based in Brussels, from 2010 to 2012.


Publishing Non-Fiction will address the following principal issues:

o       How is it different from publishing fiction?

o       It’s about horses for courses: publishers specialise in certain areas exclusively

o       The role of literary agents

o       How a prospective author should prepare a good proposal

o       How to identify a likely publisher

o       Some things you should not do

o       The dynamic of a non-fiction publishing house

o       The pressure on publishers to build their lists

o       Copyright and contracts

o       Moral rights and editing

o       Marketing, publicity and promotion

Join us on May 9th for an evening that is guaranteed to be of interest to all writers, editors and aficionados of history, memoir, travel and the wide and often profitable realm of non-fiction publishing.  Booking is advisable and you can avoid disappointment by booking your ticket here.


When :  Wednesday 21 November

Where:  The Grand Social (35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1).

Start time is 6.30pm and admission is free.


Poets in Dublin come together to mark the nine-month anniversary of Pussy Riot’s performance in a Moscow Cathedral by reading from their work and from Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, English PEN’s anthology for the band.

On 21 February, members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot staged a protest in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, denouncing the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for President Vladimir Putin. Three members of the collective, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested and held in custody until August when they were each sentenced to two years in prison on charges of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’. At their appeal hearing in October, the two-year jail term of Samutsevich was suspended, but the sentences against Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were upheld. They have since been separated and transferred to notorious prison colonies, far from Moscow and their young children.

In order to raise and maintain awareness of their case, English PEN launched Poems for Pussy Riot, inviting poets from all over the world to write creative responses to the case. A collection of the contributions, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, was published as a pay-by-donation e-book on 1 October 2012 to coincide with their first appeal hearing. A print-on-demand version is now also available, with all proceeds going to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme.

To help mark this significant anniversary, contributors to the anthology are holding events across the UK and Ireland to raise local and national awareness of Pussy Riot’s situation.

The event in Dublin, supported by Irish PEN, will take place on Wednesday 21 November at The Grand Social (35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1). Start time is 6.30pm and admission is free.

Participating Poets: Kimberly Campanello, Sophie Collins, Sue Cosgrave, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Christodoulos Makris, Máighréad Medbh, Paula Meehan, Alan Jude Moore, Christine Murray, The Poetry Divas, Sam Riviere.

For more information, please contact:
Christodoulos Makris & Barbara Smith, event hosts and contributors to Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot or

Cat Lucas, Writers at Risk Programme Manager, English PEN

Notes to Editors:

English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, a writers association promoting the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot can be downloaded at



 Wednesday 21 November at The Grand Social (35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1). Start time is 6.30pm and admission is free.

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