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

Wwc Annual Online Meeting Banner

Dear participants,

Please find all the information about the meeting below and related materials attached.

Worldwide PEN International Annual Women Writers Committee Meeting

"Empowering women’s voices: Praise, solidarity and longing",

which will be held by Zoom on March 20 and 21, 2021.

All PIWWC people are invited to take part. We hope that a virtual conference will permit more attendance than ever as we had a last year. There are many events scheduled over the two days of the conference and we will be able to see one another, and everyone will have a chance to speak as well.

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.

Meeting Agenda

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Day I

13:30 GMT (London time) - Opening the meeting (practice room and free chat)

14:00 – Empty Chair #1 Regina Martínez Pérez (Mexico)

14:05 – Opening keynote speech by Ma Thida (PEN Myanmar)

14:25 – WWC Chair report + Q&A

14:40 – PEN VIDA count: presentation of the project

15:00 – Center updates (3 mins per Center) with comfort break

17:00 – Closing the meeting

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Day II

13:30 – Opening the meeting (practice room and free chat)

14:00 – Empty Chair #2 Myint Myint Zin (Myanmar)

14:05 – WWC in Centenary Archive:

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

WWC memories by Lucina Kathmann



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)

Live on Facebook:

15:25 – Empty Chair #3. Volha Kalackaja (Belarus)



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)

Live on Facebook:

16:30 – POETRY SESSION Free the Word: Empowering Women’s Voices. Poems of Celebration, Solidarity & Longing

Empty Chair #4. Gulmira Imin (Uyghur)

Poets from 16 Countries!

Jennifer Clement ~ Stella Nyanzi ~ Gioconda Belli ~ Pamela Uschuk ~ Veera Tyhtilä ~ Salil Tripathi ~ Choman Hardi ~ Inga Gaile ~ Danson Kahyana ~ Rae Marie Taylor ~ Yolanda López ~ Bana Baydon ~ Arwaa At-thahabi ~ Yirgalem Fisseha ~ Dragica Čarna ~ Nora Atalla ~

Kätlin Kaldmaa ~ Hyam Yared ~ Cristina Wormull

Every Silence Broken Buys Another Their Voice!

OPEN Link:

Live on Facebook:

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.

We will resend the invitation link to the registered participants 24 hours before the event.