The Writers for Peace Committee was created in 1984, an era during which writers found it especially difficult to collaborate across the East–West divide of the Cold War. The committee’s founding members recognised the need to bring writers together to exchange ideas, especially when most other doors were closed. It became a haven throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s (during the Balkan wars and other political conflicts) for writers who wished to tell their stories with the knowledge that their voices would be heard.
Every spring the committee meets in Bled, Slovenia, for its annual conference. PEN writers from around the world come together there to discuss issues of conflict, peace and freedom of expression, and to create a space for dialogue between writers from all parts of the world – especially from regions in conflict. The 2018 meeting is the 50th in Bled (though the commmitee was only formally formed 34 years ago) and the initial reasons for establishing it remain all too relevant.
The current President of the Writers For Peace Committee is the Slovene poet Marjan Strojan and is based at the Slovene PEN Centre. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Vice-Presidents are Simon Mundy (Wales PEN Cymru), Emmanuel Pierrat (PEN France), and Sheng Xue (PEN Canada).