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2021 Annual Women Writers Committee Meeting "Empowering women’s voices: Praise, solidarity and longing" March 20-21

Wwc Annual Online Meeting Banner

Zoe Rodriguez

Chair, PEN International Women Writers Committee

General information about the meeting:

WWC Annual Meeting Online


20 and 21 March 2021

PEN International Women Writers Committee is organising an online meeting on women writers’ response to the anxiety that crept into our lives during and after the pandemic. We would like to put praise and solidarity, universal love and peace into the spotlight of our meeting. Seeing democracies crumbling and human rights stripped away from us, we can show that PEN is mightier than a sword.

In two sessions, we will focus on exchange of views and ideas on the way forward, with a focus on collaborative approaches.

Provisional Agenda

Day I

Opening the meeting (practice room and free chat)

Empty Chair

Keynote speech

WWC Chair report

PEN VIDA count report

Center updates (3 mins per Center)

Closing the meeting

Day II

Opening the meeting (practice room and free chat)

Empty Chair

WWC in Centenary Archive:

Introduction by Lucina Kathmann

“The WWC Committee’s secret pages in the PEN Digital Exhibition” by Ginevra Avalle



Women writers in exile live a double life. One part of their mind is in their homeland, another in the land where they are building a new existence. How is it to live a double life? How can writers in exile help to advocate for the rights in their homelands? Can literature overcome the distance? We will hear about their experience of life in exile from three amazing writers.

Panellists: Maria Saba (PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-in-Exile), Choman Hardi (Kurdish PEN), and Stella Nyanzi (PEN Uganda)

Moderated by Tanja Tuma (PEN Slovene)



The pandemic has shaken the roots of our democracies and annihilated societies that were built over decades. Freedom of speech and human rights are threatened more than ever all over the world. As a rule, writers particularly women are the first targets of the autocratic regimes. What are the methods of the autocrats trying to silence women’s literary voices? Moreover, what are women writers’ ways to persevere and fight back?

Panellists: Nadezhda Azhgikhina (PEN Moscow) and Dr Ma Thida (Myanmar PEN)

Moderated by Zoe Rodriguez (PEN Sidney)

POETRY SESSION Free the Word: Empowering Women’s Voices. Poems of Celebration, Solidarity & Longing

Each writer will have 3 minutes. To Be a Reader:

Please send, the work you hope to offer as an attached Word document; title of your piece(s); estimated reading time; one sentence Bio; your PEN Centre. Each Poet will need to attend a Tech Rehearsal & Dress Rehearsal!

You will need to have excellent, reliable Internet; please perform a Speed Test: and include the results with your submission.

We will be posting a video of this event on YouTube: please know your participation includes giving us this permission!

Every Silence Broken Buys Another Their Voice!

Practical information

The sessions will be held online as a closed, invitation-only meeting. Further details and technical information will be communicated to confirmed participants closer to the meeting.

The sessions will be recorded by the Secretariat for reporting purposes only and will not be broadcast or published later. The public portion (public events and literary reading) will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook and recordings can be used for promotional purposes.

The consultation is organised under the Chatham House Rule, and participants are not allowed to record.

The sessions will be held in English only. Unfortunately, no interpretation can be provided.

We apologise for this inconvenience.


Please, register yourself for the Meeting and Literary readings separately. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting within the next 48 hours. Don’t worry, we will resend you the invitation link 24 hours before the event.

Please, register HERE before March 10, 2021.

We cannot guarantee last minute registrations approval.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Registration material, both for the committee work and panel sessions and the literary session, will be shared with registered participants closer to the event.

The relevant weblinks will be sent out /resent closer to the conference.

Registration is free.