India: Writers from Across the Globe Gather in India for the 84th PEN International Congress

This September, over 400 writers and delegates from around the world, including Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Ashok Vajpeyi, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Ashis Nandy and PEN International President Jennifer Clement will gather in Pune, India for the 84th PEN International Congress.

The annual PEN International Congress is an opportunity for contemporary literary voices, both leading and emerging, to celebrate literature, discuss pressing threats to freedom of expression and exchange ideas and stories.

This year’s PEN International Congress will run alongside the year-long commemoration of the life of Mahatma Gandhi, whose celebrated autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ is this theme of this year’s Congress, with events and panels focusing on the values of truth and non-violence.

‘We are honoured to bring together our global membership of writers in Pune, India, in celebration of the life of Mahatma Gandhi at a time when peace-building and the pursuit of truth are becoming ever more challenging and essential. PEN has a long history of bringing together a diversity of voices in celebration of the written word, in storytelling and exchange, and we look forward to inviting new members into the PEN community.’ President of PEN International, Jennifer Clement.

Discussions will focus on linguistic rights and diversity, peace-building and tolerance, and PEN International’s Women’s Manifesto and Make Space campaign on displaced writers.

Hosted by PEN South India, this year’s Congress will consist of literary events such as visits to schools and universities by PEN members, and a celebration of literature and the diversity of languages.

President of PEN South India, G N Devy, said:

Pune speaks a language that has a continued history of 1500 years. Marathi with together with other Indian languages represent the very best in Indian thought and that thought is the foundation of Indian civilisation. Through the history of this great civilisation, diversity has always been celebrated and diversity is at the heart of democracy. PEN today celebrates diversity in the hope that freedom and truth will prevail. Gandhi, the greatest advocate of truth, is at the heart of this PEN Congress.

More than 80 countries are represented at this Congress. Together they represent more than 4000 languages. Together we stand united in the defence of all these languages and the creativity in those languages. The process of economic globalisation has posed a serious threat to language, voice and thought. United we defend the threatened. 

I thank PEN International on behalf of India and the speakers of 800 Indian languages for giving us an opportunity to restate the ancient Indian wisdom, which says that the whole world is mine but it does not belong to me. I belong to it.

For more information, please contact:

Sahar Halaimzai - Campaigns and Communications Manager, PEN International - Sahar Halaimzai: |+44 020 7405 0338

Prashant K Gunjan – Communications Coordinator, PEN Pune Congress – +91 9971 511167/+91 9650 026623