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2019 Manila: Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom & Indigenous Languages

Manila skyline

The 85th PEN International Congress in Manila | Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom and Indigenous Languages | September 30 - October 4, 2019

We are pleased to announce that the 85th PEN International Congress will take place in Manila, Philippines from 30th September to 4th October 2019, hosted by Philippine PEN.

Please register here.

Por favor, regístrese aquí.

Veuillez vous inscrire ici.

Established in 1958, PEN Philippines has been an active Centre organising literary events including readings, workshops, meet-the-author series, seminars, and conferences in Manila and in the provinces. It has hosted visits and held receptions for distinguished writers such as Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Lin Yutang, Khushwant Singh, Hirabayashi Taiko, Norman Mailer, Günter Grass, Juan Gelman, and many others. The Centre has held two regional Asian Writers conferences in Manila, and published several anthologies including an Asian PEN Anthology.


Members of Philippine PEN discussing the defence of free expression.

Over the last 8 years, PEN Philippines has participated in PEN International's civil society programme. Their project, For the Love of the Word, has sought to promote indigenous literature and linguistic rights in schools through teacher training. In July 2018, the Centre also hosted PEN International’s capacity building workshop for 16 representatives of Centres in the Asia region.


Participants in Philippine PEN's Civil Society Programme.

The United Nations declared 2019 The Year of Indigenous Languages. In the interests of promoting cultural development, peace-building and freedom of expression for linguistic group representatives, the theme of 85th PEN International Congress is ‘Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom and Indigenous Languages’.

If you have any further thoughts or comments you wish to share please email Olha Mukha, PEN’s Congresses, Committees and New Centres Coordinator on