Martha Kumsa came to Canada in 1991. As a journalist from Ethiopia, she had been held in prison under atrocius conditions for nine years and eight months before being released in 1989 with the help of PEN Canada. The following is a reflection on fractured identity, from being Oromo, to Ethiopian, to a Black writer in Canada.
In 2008, journalist Jose Armando was gunned down in front of his home as he prepared to drive his daughter to school in Juarez. He was one of eight journalists killed in 2008. Writer-in-exile Luis Najera remembers his time working with Armando at El Diaro Juarez.
Canada’s involvement in Five Eyes surveillance With the recent revelation of the existence of LEVITATION by the CBC proving once and for all that Canada is not just a “junior partner” in Five Eyes cybersurveillance, but is deeply involved at all levels, we at PEN Canada have grown ever more concerned about the role the […]
A Q & A with Paola Gómez Restrepo, the 2015 PEN Canada Writer-in-Residence at George Brown College. She is the founder of a shelter for women and street children and has written on violence against women for a number of publications. Paola is also a human rights lawyer.
In October 2013, blogger Dieu Cay received PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award for his courageous dissent and continued advocacy for human rights in Vietnam despite a crackdown on online writing by authorities. Lawyer and human rights activist Christine Dang accepted the award in Toronto on Dieu Cay’s behalf who was, at the time, serving a 12-year […]
On October 23, 2014, PEN Canada presented Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi with the One Humanity Award, given to writers whose work “transcends the boundaries of national divides and inspires connections across cultures.” This piece, written by Ali A. Rizvi, was orginally posted in the Huffington Post Canada. “The Kingdom’s political system is rooted […]
In the lead up to the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN International is publishing an open letter to five imprisoned writers every day. This piece, originally posted on the PEN International website, is a letter written from Yann Martel to Azimjon Askarov–an Uzbeki jounalist from Kyrgyzstan who spent his career exposing police corruption.
In February 2014, Ensaf Haidar, wife of detained Saudi Arabian online editor Raif Badawi, talked to PEN International about her husband’s work with the Free Saudi Liberals, his subsequent conviction and sentence, and her experience since his arrest. This interview was originally published by PEN International.
In October 2014, PEN Canada sent its programs coordinator and Writers in Prison Committee Chair to investigate solidarity-building initiatives in Honduras. In this piece, originally published in the Embassy newspaper, WiPC Chair Jim Creskey reflects on the violence and poverty he encountered in Tegucigalpa.
Karen Connelly reflects on the changing climate of freedom of expression in Myanmar and how people and the challenges that lay ahead for its new PEN centre.