Author Archives: devab

Irish PEN mourns the death of novelist Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy 1940-2012 was a previous recipient of the Irish PEN award for literature. She was a popular choice for the PEN Awardin 2007which coincided with the centenary of The United Arts Club, where Irish PEN meets regularly. As a memento of her life and times, we thought to link to the report on her award.

“Novelist Maeve Binchy proved a popular recipient for this year’s Irish Pen AT Cross Award for literature. Presented with the award at a sell-out dinner in the Royal St George Yacht Club on January 19th, she expressed delight at such recognition from her peers. She also promised that on her future visits to bookshops she will ensure that the books of all those present were face out in a prominent position – Booksellers be warned!
An appreciative audience agreed with Declan Kiberd, presenting the award, when he said that “most of [Maeve Binchy’s] stories are about the pangs of adjustment- of what happens to a society that was once God-fearing and traditional when it takes on the messy complexities of the secular,modern world,” adding that hers wasn’t a fake nostalgia for a lost world but “a brave sense that the new challenges are bracing and that good people will find in themselves the resources to meet them”. While never confining her material to Ireland, she has seen it as a test case for the modern world-and the wider world acclaimed her accordingly.”

Copyright and Intellectual property round-up

There is a lot going on at the moment with regard to how artistic works are treated.  This is a brief round-up of Copyright and Intellectual property links which should interest writers. The issue of approach to Copyright Reform and how leaders seek to deal with issues of copyright is evidently of great importance. The artistic community should involve itself at every level of discussion as Intellectual property and the right to Freedom of Speech are a part of the issue. These areas have always interested the PEN International Community of Writers.

The Copyright Review Committee 2012 has closed to submissions. The terms of reference for the review have been published and linked on the Irish PEN site for some time, and we’d like to thank members and associates who have followed the issue . This  link will bring readers to the .pdf of the published terms of reference for the Copyright Review Committee 2012. The Cearta website continously updated on the issue of Copyright Reform throughout the DJEI Submission Process . submitted a paper based in consultation and comment using an Opensource WordPress Website and encouraged people to think about the issues and headings that were proposed by DJEI. The entire submission by is available here.

Ireland’s business and artistic communities submitted to the CRC12 using a variety of means including surveys, website discussions and media. Those involved in highlighting the issue of what is believed to be an extensive reform process include Silicon Republic ,  Internet service Providers of Ireland , Cearta , , Irish Internet Association . The full list of submissions to the CRC12 will be published and should reflect a diversity of interests in what is an extremely complex area from the artistic standpoint.

ACTA. 4th July 2012: EU Parliament rejects ACTA. (ISPAI)

“This morning the EU Parliament voted to reject ACTA. The result was 478 MEPs  voted against ACTA, 39 were in favour of adopting it and there were 165  abstentions. Despite 22 EU member states including Ireland having signed the  Agreement, this vote means it cannot now be ratified by any EU country. ISPAI  recognises the need for international agreements to protect business from  counterfeit goods and to deter piracy of copyrighted works but ACTA had a poorly  thought out one size fits all approach (due to online copyright piracy being  shoe-horned in at a later stage) which was simply not practical for the Internet  environment. Key issues for MEPs were lack of clarity defining scale for online  piracy and protection of users fundamental rights. While ISPs would agree with  such principles, industry had practical concerns that ACTA appeared to require  ISPs to provide customer data to rights-holders and to impose sanctions against  alleged infringing customers without court involvement.”

Read about ACTA here

Orphan Works  (

“Orphan works (or maybe that should be “hostage works“) have become a really hot area in the copyright debate.  That’s because increasing numbers of people have realized how insane the current situation is whereby millions of older works, that are out of print and have no obvious owners, remain locked away because of copyright.  This has led to various proposals around the world to liberate them, while still protecting the copyright holders if they later appear and assert ownership.

Among these is the European Union’s Orphan Works Directive.  Given the size of the EU and the huge number of cultural artifacts that could be freed up by the right kind of legislation, this is potentially a big deal, particularly in terms of allowing works to be digitized and used in new contexts.”


Declaration of Internet Freedom

Read more Here

“We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.

Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.”

A list of signatories of the Declaration Of Internet Freedom is available here.

RUSSIA: Russian cultural figures demand freedom for Pussy Riot band members



“On 20th of June Moscow’s Tagansky District Court extended the detention of Pussy Riot members. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich have been held in custody since March this year. They are charged under article 213 (2) of the Criminal Code according to which they can face up to 7 years in prison.

We, signatories of this appeal, have a different evaluation of the moral and ethical aspects of the Pussy Riot members’ February rally in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour:

– We do not believe that the actions of Pussy Riot constitute a criminal offence. The girls did not kill anyone, did not rob anyone, did not use violence and did not destroy or steal anyone’s property. Russia is a secular government and as anti-clerical actions do not fall under the criminal code they cannot be reasons for prosecution;

– We think that the criminal charges against Pussy Riot compromise the Russian judiciary and undermine trust in these institutions as a whole. As the band members remain in custody, an atmosphere of intolerance grows in our society which in turn leads to its further disunity and radicalisation;

– We do not see any legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women who do not pose any danger to society. Furthermore, three of them are young mothers;

– We are convinced of the necessity to release Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich from custody and drop charges or to at least downgrade their case from a criminal to administrative offence. ”


This story is from PEN International and can be read in it’s entire at link ,

News: MEXICO G20 – Open Letter to Journalists

The G20 Summit will take place in Mexico on the 18 and 19 June 2012. PEN International has written an open letter to journalists covering the event. We ask them, that in the course of their reporting, they raise the issue of the violence suffered by journalists and writers in Mexico, and of the impunity enjoyed by those who commit these crimes.

Please see the text of the letter below. A PDF copy is available here: Mexico G20 eng pdf

G20 Summit, Mexico, 18-19 June 2012:
An Open Letter to Journalists and Writers

Dear Colleagues,

We write to you on behalf of PEN International, the global writers and free expression organisation with over 100 centres worldwide.

We ask you, as fellow journalists and writers, to remember your murdered and disappeared Mexican colleagues when you report on this year’s G20 Summit in Mexico.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practise journalism. Since 2000, more than 80 writers, journalists and bloggers have been killed in connection to their work, and another 15 have disappeared. Many of these journalists reported on organized crime and corruption; few of their deaths have been investigated properly. There have been only a handful of convictions.

Despite the introduction of two mechanisms aimed at protecting journalists under threat, and the creation, in 2006, of the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression, the rate at which journalists are being killed has increased rather than diminished.

In the first six months of 2012, seven writers have been murdered.

The almost 100% impunity enjoyed by those who kill or threaten journalists in Mexico owes much of its existence to the corruption and inertia that are so prevalent throughout the Mexican states. Police and employees of local administrations are often implicated in attacks on journalists, and, as the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression publicly recognised in March 2012, threats to journalists’ right to free expression often come directly from the state authorities themselves.

In January, the International President and the International Secretary of PEN International led a delegation to Mexico comprising writers from our North American, European and Asian PEN centres, to raise international awareness of the violence suffered there by writers and journalists. The delegation met with, among others, the Mayor of Mexico City, the Minister of the Interior, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression and the President of the Senate.

The PEN delegation called for an end to the climate of impunity, and on the Mexican Senate to approve an amendment to the Constitution that would make all attacks on journalists federal crimes. This amendment was passed in March 2012; it now needs to be approved by a majority of the states for it to become law.

However, Mexico’s commitment to freedom of expression will not be measured by legislation, but by a reduction in the number of attacks on journalists and writers, by the prosecution and conviction of those responsible for these crimes, and by tackling corruption.

PEN International asks you – in an act of solidarity with your murdered and disappeared colleagues – to raise the issue of Mexico’s climate of impunity in your coverage of the G20 summit in June.

Yours Sincerely,

John Ralston Saul
International President

Hori Takeaki
International Secretary

Marian Botsford Fraser
Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee

Press Contacts:
John Ralston Saul, International President, 00 1 416-964-2313
Cathal Sheerin 00 44 (0)20 7405 0338

This post is also available in: French, Spanish

Calling a halt to the killings in Syria, letter to the Irish Times.

The following letter was published in the Irish Times on the 28th of April 2012.

Sir, – Credible reports that Syrian security forces have murdered people who have had contact with UN monitors represent a challenge to all of us. The United Nations acts in our name. If silence represents complicity in the face of crimes against humanity, allowing the UN to be used to select people for summary execution makes us even more culpable, unless we take action to stop the killing.The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, even before these most recent crimes, had called for the referral of the Assad regime to theInternational Criminal Court.

In the light of the string of recent atrocities, that makes a mockery of efforts to secure peace in Syria, surely the Dáil and Seanad will demand such action in an urgent resolution, and request the Minister for Foreign Affairs to seek to lobby the Security Council to act.

Thousands have died as tanks and artillery have indiscriminately shelled besieged cities and snipers have targeted peaceful protesters. But the most egregious aspect of the Assad regime’s response has been the callous and indiscriminate targeting of children.

Lois Whitman, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, has stated: “Syrian security forces have killed, arrested, and tortured children in their homes, their schools, or on the streets. In many cases, security forces have targeted children just as they have targeted adults.. It’s clear from the brutal methods used against children that Syrian security forces show child detainees no mercy . . . We fear that children will continue to face horrendous punishment in detention until Syrian officials understand they will pay a price for such abuse.”

If we fail to act, we may condemn thousands, including who knows how many children, to torture and death. The heart-rending memorial on April 6th in Sarajevo commemorating the outbreak of war, and which highlighted the deaths of more than 1,000 children in the indiscriminate slaughter of the siege, is a compelling reminder of how real that threat is in Syria. – Yours, etc,


(from , The Irish Times , 28/04/2012)

A letter from our membership secretary.

– The Irish PEN AGM takes place at the UAC at 7p.m., Thursday May 10th –
– Members’ news – send us news of this year’s publications, launches and events –
– Writing Memoir event: 8p.m. at the UAC on Thursday, May 10th –

Emer Liston , Irish PEN Membership Secretary


” We have had a very eventful and successful year at Irish PEN. From our first event after the summer, Writing for children and young people, through to our Annual PEN Award Dinner at which Joseph O’Connor’s outstanding achievement in literature was marked by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, we’ve enjoyed great company and rich discussion about the work of writing in Ireland today.

At our most recent event, we enjoyed the company of Morgan Llewellyn and Orna Ross in an evening of stories and insight into Historical Fiction and a feast of talent is in store on the 10th of this month, when we look at Writing Memoir, with Molly McCloskey, Lia Mills, Sheila Maher and John MacKenna. This event is proving very popular, and you can conveniently book your place online by clicking here.

Our news section in will keep you up to date on our participation in campaigns and letters to publications here in Ireland, including our campaign on blasphemy, and correspondence calling for action in Syria, published in last weekend’s Irish Times.  Meanwhile, please let us know about your news this year – we are compiling our latest newsletter and wish to feature and promote new publications, launches and the successes of all members and associates of PEN. 


Finally, and most importantly, our AGM takes place immediately before our Writing Memoir event, at 7 p.m. on May 10th, at the United Arts Club. All members are most welcome to attend.

We look forward to meeting you next Thursday, and hearing your news.”

Warmest regards,
Emer Liston,  Membership Secretary at Irish PEN.


Details of our Next Event are carried on our homepage and at this link

Irish PEN membership and renewal details are available here

European Writers’ Meeting in Wroclaw , April 20th to 22nd 2012.



Port Literary Festival logo and site

 The Port Literary Festival 2012 will welcome two Irish Poets to read in Wroclaw. I am adding here the site links for interested members and associates of Irish PEN. The link can be translated via the translate button which appears on the top-bar of the Port site.

“This year we will host two great Irish poetsLeontia Flynn and  Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. They will come to Wroclaw to present poems, which were translated and published in an anthology of Irish poetry published this year by Biuro Literackie.

We would be really pleased if the Irish Pen (Association of Irish Writers) would be willing to assist us in promoting this event abroad Poland.”

We think that Irish poetry shall be better known here in Poland and we would be happy to cooperate with you in this matter.

More information about the festival and poets is available at link :  

17. European Writers’ Meeting
Studio Na Grobli, Na Grobli 30/32, Wrocław
20-22 April 2012

Friday 20.04.2012

18:00 Krystyna MIŁOBĘDZKA
Meeting with the poet and reading from her new book of poems dwanaście wierszy w kolorze. Premieres of two titles: an anthology of plays Gdzie baba siała mak and a collection of critical texts, sketches and interviews with and about the poet Wielogłos. Krystyna Miłobędzka w recenzjach, szkicach, rozmowach.

Reading from an anthology of poems by 6 Irish poets Sześć poetek irlandzkich: Leontia Flynn, Medbh McGuckian, Paula Meehan, Sinéad Morrissey, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz. Meeting with the translator and two special festival guests from Ireland: Leontia Flynn and Eiléan NÍ Chuilleanáin.

21:00 Jane BOWLES and Laura (RIDING) Jackson
Reading from a book by Jane Bowles Dwie poważne damy. W letnim domku (Two Serious Ladies. In the Summerhouse) translated by Andrzej Sosnowski and two books with selected works by Laura (Riding) Jackson: Korona dla Hansa Andersena. Utwory wybrane: opowiadania and Obroty cudów. Utwory wybrane: wiersze i eseje translated by Julia FIEDORCZUK. Meeting with the translators.

Screenings of short films from the competition “Shoot a Poem” for the best film adaptation of Krystyna Miłobędzka’s poem and the awards ceremony.

Saturday 21.04.2012

14:00 THE CATCH 2011
Reading from the book Połów. Poetyckie debiuty 2011. Meeting with the budding poets: Kamil BREWIŃSKI, Maciej BURDA, Szymon DOMAGAŁA-JAKUĆ, Katarzyna FETLIŃSKA, Jakub GŁUSZAK, Grzegorz JĘDREK, Katarzyna KACZMAREK, Adrian SINKOWSKI, Maciej TARANEK, and Joanna ŻABNICKA.

15:00 James SCHUYLER and Ezra POUND
Reading from selected poems by James Schuyler Trzy poematy translated by Marcin Sendecki, Andrzej SOSNOWSKI and Bohdan ZadurA as well as a collection of poetic texts by Ezra Pound Wiersze, poematy i Pieśni translated by Leszek Engelking. Meeting with the translators.

16:30 BALLA and Andrij BONDAR
Reading from books by Balla, Świadek and Podszepty, translated by Jacek Bukowski as well as Andrij Bondar’s Historie ważne i nieważne translated by Bohdan Zadura. Meeting with two special festival guests from Slovakia and Ukraine, and the translators.

18:00 Urszula KOZIOŁ, Jacek ŁUKASIEWICZ and Janusz STYCZEŃ
Reading from new books by three Wrocław poets: Fuga (1955-2010), Stojąca na ruinie and Furia instynktu.

19:30 Edmund WHITE
Reading from books by Edmund White: Hotel de Dream, Zapominanie Eleny (Forgetting Elena), Zuch (A Boy’s Own Story) translated by Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczyński, Andrzej Sosnowski, Jerzy Jarniewicz. Meeting with the special festival guest from the United States and the translators.

21:00 John ASHBERY and John CAGE
Reading from selected poems by Johna Ashbery Cztery poematy and John Cage’s Przeludnienie i sztuka translated and presented by Andrzej Sosnowski.

Concert given by the Avant-garde Orchestra of Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wroclaw “Sound Factory Orchestra”.

Sunday 22.04.2012

Reading from books with selected poems by three classic Polish authors: Psalmy i inne wiersze, Seans na dnie morza and Dialog w ciemności published in the “44. Polish Poetry Revisited” series. Meeting with the authors of the selections: Bohdan Zadura, Marta PODGÓRNIK and Wojciech Bonowicz.

15:00 Justyna BARGIELSKA, Jacek DEHNEL and Dariusz SUSKA
Reading from new poetic books by the three authors: Bach for my baby, Rubryki strat i zysków and Duchy dni.

16:30 Gottfried BENN and Bertolt BRECHT
Reading from selected works by Gottfried Benn Nigdy samotniej i inne wiersze (1912-1955) translated by Jacek St. Buras, Zdzisław Jaskuła, Andrzej Kopacki, Sława Lisiecka, Tomasz Ososiński and selected poems by Bertolt Brecht Ten cały Brecht translated by Jacek St. Buras, Jakub EKIER, Andrzej Kopacki and Piotr Sommer. Meeting with the translators.

18:00 Tadeusz PIÓRO, Marcin SENDECKI and Eugeniusz TKACZYSZYN-DYCKI
Reading from new poetic books by the three poets: O dwa kroki stąd (1992-2011), Farsz and Imię i znamię.

19:30 Laurie Anderson
Reading from selected works by Laurie ANDERSON Język przyszłości translated by Julia Fiedorczuk. Meeting with the special festival guest from the United States and the translator.

Open afternoon for writers on Saturday 31st March at the Irish Writers Centre

Organised by the Irish Writers Union

Free Open Afternoon Workshops

All are welcome

When :  2-4:30pm, Saturday 31 March

Where :  Irish Writers Centre

      19 Parnell Square,

      .Dublin 2

2- 2:30          LECTURE:   ‘Copyright Law in Ireland’

A talk by Ronan Sheehan, novelist and solicitor, co-founder of Irish Writers Co-op.

2:30-2:45 –   questions and comments from the attendees; organise workshops

3 -3:45 pm – WORKSHOPS : 
join a facilitated workshop on one of the following:

A. Children’s Literature – facilitated by Conor Kostick

B. Irish Language Writing- facilitated by Alan Titley

C. Pros and Cons of Internet publishing/social media/blogs for  writers – facilitated by Chris Murray, webmaster for PEN

D. Performance poetry and innovative forms of writing – facilitated by poet Máighréad Medbh

3:45-4pm each group sum up the key discussion points and any conclusions

4-4:30pm: Brief reports back from workshops to total group

This event is organised by the Irish Writer’s Union and is an open event,  for more information please contact :  Irish Writers’ Union, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

PH 086 233 00 84

Email ,

Updates from the Copyright Review Committee 2012

As the title of the post says, this post has three updates about the work of  the Copyright Review Committee. First, following a large number of requests for an extension of time to reply to the Committee’s Consultation Paper, the Committee has decided to extend the deadline for receipt of submissions to 5.00pm on Thursday 31 May 2012. Second, the text to three of the questions on the first page of the Committee’s online questionnaire has been updated to confirm that certain information provided by respondents (such as postal address, email address, and website) will not be published.”

Those members and associates of Irish PEN with an interest in the work of the Copyright Review Committee 2012 should take note that the deadline for submissions has been extended to May the 31st 2012.

Links and Information regarding how to submit and upcoming public meetings on copyright reform is available here , 

  • email the Review,
  • write to Copyright Review, Room 517, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, or
  • complete the Committee’s online questionnaire and answer the last question by confirming that you wish to attend the meeting.

The bulk of information and links to this review are constantly updated in the website


A Poem by Tal Al-Mallouhi for International Women's Day 2012

You will remain an example

(For Gandhi)

I will walk with all walking people
And no
I will not stand still
Just to watch the passers by
This is my Homeland
In which
I have
A palm tree
A drop in a cloud
And a grave to protect me

This is more beautiful
Than all cities of fog
And cities which
Do not recognise me
My master:
I would like to have power
Even for one day
To build the “republic of feelings.”

(Translated by Ghias al-Jundi)


Syria – Tal al-Mallouhi

Tal al-Mallouhi is a young poet who was only 19 years old when she was arrested in her home city of Homs more than two years ago in December 2009. She was sentenced to five years in prison in February 2011, convicted of spying for a foreign country. She is still in prison, with little access to her family – a situation aggravated by the recent conflict. She had no political affiliations but she had published comments and poetry on line. For more on her case read this PEN alert.

Celebrate women-writers at PEN International’s link ,