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Zambia: Creating a Nation of Writers and Readers

Friday 26 April 2013 - 1:00am

The Zambian PEN Centre has run successful literacy programmes for five years, which encompasses a library development scheme, a PEN School Clubs programme and activities to support and promote established writers. Zambian PEN runs School Clubs engaging a total of 180 pupils in their activities and organises monthly visits by writers to the School Clubs to improve students’ writing skills. In order to address the disparity of access to education between genders, the Clubs focus on engaging female pupils in reading and writing. In addition to its School Clubs work Zambian PEN has also worked closely with local libraries; the Centre secured a donation of more than 1000 books to distribute to local libraries in December 2011 and held several events in Lusaka Vity Library in order to increase community access to literature.

In 2013 Zambian PEN is planning to continue its work with its partner schools and include two new schools in its PEN School Club programme. The Centre is also planning to continue organising monthly Writers’ Circles and hold additional trainings for writers. The aim of the workshops and trainings is to enable and encourage writers to be both active writers and also active members of their communities. By organising reading programmes and writing competitions to celebrate the 2013 International Literacy Day Zambian PEN also aims to promote reading and literacy across Zambia.

Zambian PEN Centre’s activities form part of a new International Programmes initiative jointly supported by PEN International and the Swedish International Development Agency. The aim of the new initiative is to support civil society and capacity building activities in several countries including, among others, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Central Asia, Cambodia, Nepal, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi and Puerto Rico.

For more information please contact International Programmes Officer Emese Kovács:

PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, our global community of writers now comprises 144 Centres spanning more than 100 countries. Our programmes, campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers for global solidarity and cooperation. PEN International is a non-political organization and holds consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO.