The Board of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann is delighted to invite all members to a Summer Solstice Zoom party on Monday, 21st June at 7 pm. This is a chance to get to know each other and to celebrate brighter days, even though we can’t yet meet in person.
Everyone is invited to read a very short piece on the theme of Summer (2-3 minutes max.) You are also encouraged to use the chat function to get sociable. Under Covid circumstances, this has to be a BYOB (bring your own bottle) event.
Invitations have gone out by email. If you are interested in coming please REPLY by 18th June so that we can send you a link for the party. Please also state if you will read. We will draw up a programme which will go out with the Zoom link.
We very much hope that you will join us for this light-hearted session. Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Thank you for your support to date.
President Higgins is the Patron of the Irish Writers Centre and he has put the promotion of creativity, critical thought and the careful use of language at the heart of his Presidency.
Meeting members of Irish PEN, Word and the Irish Writers Centre at Áras an Uachtaráin on 27th March 2018, President Higgins marked the launch of WORD and Irish PEN’s initiative to support International PENs Freedom to Write Campaign.
Freedom of expression and solidarity among writers are at the heart of PEN. PEN started in the aftermath of World War One bringing writers together to express solidarity within and between recently warring nations. PEN quickly expressed this same solidarity by campaigning for freedom of expression for all writers and for individual writers who were silenced, harassed, imprisoned and murdered because they had the courage to write.
As a group we are planning to take one action for each season during the coming year. These will be linked to other events such as the Nollaig na MBan in January, the PEN Dinner Empty Chair, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer in November and PEN International global actions. We will follow up with actions and updates on cases, but for this quarter we are focussing on, in particular Zehra Dogan and Raif Badawi.
Pictured, Father Tony Gaughan, President Irish PEN, Liz McManus, President Higgins, June Considine and Valerie Bistany (Irish Writers Centre)
Listen to the President’s full speech here:
In the warm and welcoming surroundings of the Royal St George Yacht Club, on February 22nd 2018, Anne Enright received the Irish PEN Award 2017, delayed slightly from 2016 due to her work commitments at Laureate. Irish PEN were delighted to welcome Sheila Bailey of PEN International and particularly pleased to be joined by so many friends from WORD, with whom we are working on an initiative to support PEN International’s Freedom to Write Campaign.
In keeping with the tradition started in 1935, (when the WB Yeats dinner took place), the annual Irish PEN Award is presented in the company of other leading writers. Members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners, nominate and vote for the candidate. Since 1999, the award recipients have included John B Keane, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Maeve Binchy, Thomas Kilroy, Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, John Banville, Frank McGuiness and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne.
After Irish PEN chair Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin gave a short speech outlining the background to the award, June Considine from WORD, gave a superb summary of work to date and how Irish writers were supporting International PEN’s initiatives.
The beautiful silver trophy was made by Eileen Moylan in Kerry, photo by Ger Holland Photography.
The Way Forward: Open Meeting
Irish PEN has been in abeyance for some time and we are currently reviewing our position, and developing a strategy to take PEN forward into the coming years. With the current political climate, PEN’s role – both in Ireland and internationally – has become vital, and we know that many writers want to act but aren’t sure how. Organisation and focus are key to moving forward, and we want your help.
We are currently reviewing our position, and developing a strategy to take Irish PEN forward into the coming years. With the current political climate, Irish PEN’s role – both in Ireland and internationally – has become vital, and we know that many writers want to act but aren’t sure how. Organisation and focus are essential to moving forward, and we want your help.
In order to gauge support and forge a clear direction, we are planning an open meeting in Dublin to get YOUR feedback – to find out what you want from us, and how we can best serve your interests and the interests of free speech, and crucially how you can help achieve that. We are working with WORD – an informal association of professional writers from the Irish Writers Centre – some of whom are also anxious to ensure Irish writers are able to use their voices in the current political climate, with a specific focus on writers in prisons and writers suffering oppression. International PEN has the mechanisms in place to facilitate this and we believe this is the direction Irish PEN should move in, becoming a more politically active organisation rather than purely social.
With that in mind, we are holding an open meeting, open to any interested writer, at the Irish Writers Centre on September 23rd 2017 at 1pm, Huge thanks to the Irish Writers Centre who are generously donating the space. We will be explaining Irish PEN’s current position, our hopes to develop a significantly more active voice in the future and asking how you can help. No matter how small – the sending of one email or one letter – your contribution could be vital to a writer whose voice is being quashed, and vital to keeping Irish PEN active.
The open meeting is a free event, but if you are able to come, please register your attendance here:
PEN’s mission is to promote and defend freedom of expression as part of a global writing community, enabling writers to actively engage with social issues in a diverse culture of respect, tolerance and supportive exchange.
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was presented with the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature 2015 at the Irish PEN Award Dinner on Friday 20th February 2015. The dinner is held each year at The Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin and open to both members and non members of PEN, was a packed house.
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne said, ‘It’s a great honour and a great delight to receive this award from Irish PEN and to find myself in such illustrious company as Edna O’Brien, Maeve Binchy, Jennifer Johnston & Frank McGuinness’
With the award presented by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, Minister of State for Equality, New Communities & Culture, the evening was a true celebration of Éilís’ contribution to Irish Literature.
The 2015 award trophy is sponsored by the national online writing magazine & resources website www.writing.ie founded by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin of The Inkwell Group. Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, current Chair of Irish PEN said, “Writing.ie is delighted to be sponsoring this prestigious trophy again this year. Éilís is an extremely popular recipient and it was lovely to see such huge support for her on the night.”
Irish PEN is the Centre in Ireland for PEN, an international association of writers which promotes literature and defends freedom of expression. Anyone can sign the PEN Charter on www.irishpen.com and associate membership is open to all. Full membership is open to all qualified writers who sign the charter. PEN, which stands for poets, playwrights, editors, essayists and novelists, is a non-political organization with special consultative status at UNESCO and the United Nations. Founded in 1921, it has from its earliest days in Ireland been associated with Lady Gregory, W.B. Yeats, and Lord Longford. The President of Irish PEN is the acclaimed playwright Brian Friel.
About the Award
In 1998 Irish PEN set up an award to honour an Irish writer who has made an outstanding contribution to Irish Literature. This Award is for a significant body of work, written and produced over a number of years, and is open to novelists, playwrights, poets, and scriptwriters. Full and associate members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners, nominate and vote for the candidate. The writer is presented with the Award in the company of other writers at our annual dinner.
About Éilís Ní Dhuibhne
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was born in Dublin in 1954 and is a graduate of UCD. She studied at UCD – studying Pure English for the BA, doing an M Phil in Middle English and Old Irish, and finishing in 1982 with a Ph D in Folklore. From 1978-9 she studied at the Folklore Institute in the University of Copenhagen as a research scholar, while researching her doctoral thesis.
She published her first story in the New Irish Writing Page in the Irish Press, in 1974. Her first book was published in 1988, Blood and Water, and since then she has written about 24 books, including novels, collections of short stories, several books for children, plays and non-fiction works. She writes in both Irish and English.
She has won several awards for her writing over the years including The Bisto Book of the Year Award, the Readers’ Association of Ireland Award, the Stewart Parker Award for Drama, the Butler Award for Prose from the Irish American Cultural Institute and several Oireachtas awards for novels and plays in Irish. The novel The Dancers Dancing was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her stories are widely anthologized and translated. Her latest novel for young people, Dordán, was published in autumn 2010, and the last collection of short stories, The Shelter of Neighbours, was published in 2012. She was elected to Aosdána in 2004.
Previous winners of the Irish PEN Award:
1999 John B.Keane
2000 Brian Friel
2001 Edna O’Brien
2002 William Trevor
2003 John McGahern
2004 Neil Jordan
2005 Seamus Heaney
2006 Jennifer Johnston
2007 Maeve Binchy
2008 Thomas Kilroy
2009 Roddy Doyle
2010 Brendan Kennelly
2011 Colm Tóibín
2012 Joseph O’Connor
2013 John Banville
2014 Frank McGuinness
- o New Members & Members’ News
- o PEN/NEW VOICES Competition
- o AGM 2013
- o Irish PEN Award Dinner
- o Irish PEN and Blasphemy
- o Irish PEN co-sponsors Free Author Media
- Training Day – held June 15th
- o Upcoming Festivals
- o PEN’s 45th International Writers Meeting
- o Mary Russell: a talk on Writing & Travel in Syria
Should writers always speak their minds?
Do writers always speak their minds?
Do we have a free press in Ireland, or is the media controlled by a politically correct agenda?
Irish PEN in collaboration with DIT School of Media asks these questions and more in a public interview with Kevin Myers.
8pm on March 14th 2013
DIT School of Media, Aungier St.
Kevin Myers became a journalist upon leaving UCD, for want of anything else to do. Over forty years later, he remains a journalist for largely the same reason. He has been a newspaper columnist since 1980,and writes four columns a week. He has also reported on the wars in Northern Ireland, where he worked throughout the 1970s, Beirut and Bosnia, and also from Japan, Africa and Czechoslovakia.
Mr Myers was recently the subject of a complaint about an opinion piece on the subject of gay marriage.The complaint, made to the Press Ombudsman, was upheld – the ombudsman found that it breached principle regarding distinguishing fact from fiction and prejudice.This is not the first time that he has been the subject of controversy for his views, ranging from immigration, privatisation, child-rearing and gay rights; and it will not, one suspects, be the last.
Irish PEN is affiliated to PEN International, the worldwide association for writers, and is supported by Dublin City Arts Office. The aims of PEN are to promote literature, defend freedom of expression and promote co-operation among writers. PEN’s membership around the world numbers journalists, novelists, poets essayists and playwrights, as well as those with an interest in writing and communication between writers.
PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee works on behalf of imprisoned, censored and persecuted writers around the globe: “Because writers speak their minds”.
For over fifty years, the School of Media at DIT has provided innovative educational programmes, earning an international reputation for innovating new courses as media technologies, as well as the way we use media in society, evolve. The School’s graduates emerge with the ability to generate ideas, the knowledge and understanding to develop ideas into concepts, and the production expertise to execute highly accomplished work.
Interviewer Tom Clonan is a lecturer specialising in news journalism, public affairs and crisis management at DIT Aungier St. He is a published author and has written for the Irish Times for the past 11 years, while also working in radio and television broadcasting. He is a retired Army Officer and like Kevin Myers, has experience of conflict in Ireland, the Middle East and former Yugoslavia. No stranger to controversy, Tom is regarded as one of Ireland’s foremost whistleblowers because of his experience of exposing crises in equality and the military in Ireland.
ALL WELCOME – ADMISSION €3/€6
SEATING LIMITED – BOOKING ESSENTIAL AT: http://kevinmyers-irishpen-dit.eventbrite.ie
In keeping with the tradition started in 1935, (when the WB Yeats Dinner took place), the annual Irish PEN Award is presented in the company of other leading writers. Members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners, nominate and vote for the candidate. Since 1999, the award recipients have included John B Keane, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Maeve Binchy, Thomas Kilroy, Roddy Doyle, Brendan Kennelly and Joseph O’Connor.
John Banville’s career has seen him presented with numerous awards. His novel The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award in 1989. His eighteenth novel, The Sea, won the Booker Prize in 2005. He was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011 and is a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Banville also writes as Benjamin Black and will write a new Philip Marlowe novel for publication in 2013 featuring the hero-detective of Raymond Chandler’s best-selling books, under his Benjamin Black pseudonym. He is considered by critics as a master stylist of language, and his writing has been described as perfectly crafted, beautiful, dazzling.
Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will present the PEN Award for outstanding achievement at this year’s Award Dinner, which takes place at 7pm on Friday, February 22nd at the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire.
To avoid disappointment, we urge early booking – available online at this link: http://irishpendinner2013.eventbrite.com
Notes to Irish PEN Award Dinner guests:
This year Irish PEN has regrettably lost its Arts Council funding, and therefore your membership fees are essential to keep us running. You can now choose to renew your membership here, when purchasing your dinner ticket. Attendance at the dinner is open to all.
Guests arrive for 7pm & please bring your eTicket to collect your dinner ticket at the door. We very much look forward to meeting you on February 22nd.