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Projects From Around the World

PEN Zambia's indigenous language creative writing workshops

Our PEN Centres and their writers are running empowerment through literature and access to education programmes around the world. To read more about their projects, click the name of the PEN Centre below.

PEN Afrikaans - PEN Afrikaans has been running creative writing workshops in rural areas of South Africa, where literacy levels are low. The aim of the project is to help to change the perception of Afrikaans as the language of the oppressor, by sharing the stories of rural, black Afrikaans communities. 

Argentina - PEN Argentina has delivered a number of creative writing workshops in informal settlements as well as in youth incarceration centres in Buenos Aires. The aim of the workshops is to provide participants with an appreciation of the written and spoken word, as well as to give them the tools to develop a sense of self-worth through language. 

Bosnia - PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina has been using literature and linguistic studies as a bridge to connect young people aged 17-24 from divided and fragmented communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH). The project aims to address existing divides between different communities in post-war BIH

Central Asia - Central Asia PEN carried out a programme of visiting lectures in universities in North and Southern Kyrgyzstan and in Tajikistan. In continuation of Central Asia’s previous programme of summer schools, the visiting lectures aim to equip students with an understanding of their human rights and to inculcate a love of literature.

PEN Eritrea - has built a Freedom of Expression Platform for Eritrean Writers 

PEN Ghana - PEN Ghana leads 72 PEN Youth Clubs (PYC) across the country, all set up in the ten years that the project has been running. Eight new PYCs have been introduced in the past year.  The school clubs aim to teach basic writing skills and increase awareness of human rights and social responsibilities.

PEN Guinee - PEN Guinea has been running school clubs in a number of schools for several years now. The school clubs aim to encourage children to read and write, and to promote literature within education. Eventually PEN Guinea would like to see this kind of attention to literature extended to mainstream education. 

PEN Honduras - PEN Honduras is creating spaces for free expression through literary workshops for the students of the National Autonomous University in Honduras.

PEN Hong Kong - To promote bilingual creative writing by young writers, PEN Hong Kong is curating a collection of work by university students.

Kurdish PEN - Kurdish PEN has been holding creative writing workshops for young people and women in five Ezidie Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps across Kurdistan Region in Iraq, with the aim of amplifying their voices to fight stigmas and stereotypes associated with Ezidie culture and build understanding and empathy to enhance peace and togetherness within the society.

PEN Lebanon - PEN Lebanon is running theatre workshops and holding open readings, bringing displaced Syrian and Palestinian writers and their literature into the local Lebanese community around Beirut in order to build cohesion, dialogue and networks across cultures.

Malawi - PEN Malawi runs school workshops on creative writing in response to stagnating government response to developing and promoting indigenous languages in Malawi, which affects people’s access to education and information. PEN Malawi has been reaching out to new communities, through women’s groups, PEN Clubs in areas where women and girls are exceptionally marginalised and in youth detention centres. 

Mexico - PEN Piensa is a digital platform which collects the stories of journalists and writers who have been killed, the voices of those who have lived to tell their story and confront the reality of their country, as well as the paths of those who live in exile.

Myanmar - PEN Myanmar focuses its project on capacity building of the Centre and the promotion of literature. The Centre is running a series of creative writing workshops and advocacy trainings to amplify the voice of writers to affect change specifically in relation to issues affecting the freedom of expression climate in Myanmar

Nicaragua - PEN Nicaragua is running a series of public lectures and small workshops around literary and critical journalism aimed at building the capacity of independent journalists, writers and bloggers. 

Philippines - Philippine PEN has been building on its previous civil society work with the programme ‘The Healing PEN II’, with the aim of addressing the current concerns around mother-language education and literature in the country. 

Sierra Leone - PEN Sierra Leone has been running its School Club project for nearly 10 years, this year expanding its programme to 20 further schools across the country. The PEN Youth Clubs (PYCs) consist of literary and debating activities, and in addition the Centre organises PYC Regional Literary Evening events.

South Africa - PEN South Africa has worked with the Nal’ibali reading for enjoyment campaign since 2012.

PEN Togo - One of the youngest centres in the PEN family, PEN Togo is using the PEN Civil Society Grant to grow their centre.

Uganda - PEN Uganda is running creative workshops for prisoners in some of the highest security male and female prisons in the country. The aim of the project is to support inmates to produce high quality creative work as a form of rehabilitation.

Wales PEN Cymru - Wales PEN Cymru’s project aims to improve Civil Society in Turkey by supporting the Kurdish minority to exercise their linguistic rights and to feel pride in their language, literature and poetry.

PEN Zambia - PEN Zambia has been running workshops in schools promoting creative writing and speaking in indigenous languages. 

PEN Zimbabwe - In 2016 and 2017, PEN Zimbabwe was re-established as a voice on literature and freedom of expression issues through literary festivals, events and partnerships. 

We were able to organise a space for transforming the way school children now think about social issues [serving as the] informal training ground that could showcase their writing prowess and enhance the potential of young PEN members graduating from the school clubs to become more confident and effective writers, thinkers, public speakers and leaders in our society

PEN Sierra Leone’s School Club project