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PEN/Opp Illustration by Kajsa Nilsson

PEN/Opp is published by Swedish PEN and provides opportunities for writers and bloggers from around the world to speak out on global issues, without censorship of their voices or policing of their thoughts.

The emergence of PEN/Opp

It has never been so easy to publish or make your voice heard. Through websites, blogs and social media, people all around the world have been given new opportunities to freely spread their words. However, at the same time as new doors have opened, totalitarian regimes are slowly but surely trying to censor new digital media. Blogs that contain uncomfortable truths are shut down and writers are silenced by intimidation and reprisals. As new technologies have emerged that have advanced free speech, so have new tools and tactics of censorship.

In 2011, Swedish PEN launched "The Dissident Blog" with the support of Postcode Lottery Culture Foundation, SIDA, PEN International and Statens Kulturråd (the Swedish Arts Council). Since then, the site has regularly published texts that can neither be written nor published in the writers’ own countries; published in their original language as well as in Swedish and English, aiming to reach both a Swedish and an international audience.

Eight years later, we celebrate the re-launch of the publication site under a new name: PEN/Opp —opp as in opposition. This is a new and modernised site broadly adapted for the computer, the mobile or any e-book reader, and one that can also be accessed in places with a slow Internet connection.

The latest edition, number #31, focuses on indigenous languages and linguistic rights.

"Jts’ibajom te jbats’I k’optik, meaning Tzotzil writer in indigenous languages, is more than just posting a profile pic and getting eighty thousand likes on social media. It is much more than that. Being Jts’ibajom te jbats’I k’optik is an expression of responsibility, of commitment and respect for words, for our words, for the words of our peoples." - Ruperta Bautista, writer, translator, and anthropologist.

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