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Register for the 84th PEN International Congress

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, the most haloed proponent of Truth and Non-Violence in modern history, was born on the 2nd October 1869.  The twelve months from October 2018 to September 2019 are going to be celebrated as the 150th year of Gandhi’s birth.

The 84th PEN International Congress in India is timed to inaugurate the year long commemoration.  The title of Gandhi’s celebrated autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ provides the caption for the Congress-2018. The Gandhian values of Truth and Non-violence will be one of the main thematic focus of the Congress.

India is home for an amazingly large diversity of culture and language. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India created and headed by PEN Member Ganesh Devy has surveyed 780 living languages. Many of them have active oral or written literary expression. The PEN Congress 2018 will bring face-to-face the international PEN community and representatives of several hundred Indian languages. Thus, diversity will be the other thematic focus of the Congress.

The Indian Constitution guarantees the Freedom of Expression as an inalienable right to all Indian citizens. In recent years, many writers, artists, film-makers and thinkers in India have found it necessary to reassert this right. The movement for ‘Freedom of Expression’, Dakshinayan (literally, ‘going south’) will join the PEN community in celebrating Freedom of Expression during the Congress-2018.

Truth, Freedom and Diversity are the three thematic axes for the PEN Congress-2018.


Among the iconic places related to Gandhi’s life are the two ‘Ashrams’ (communes) he created at Ahmedabad and Wardha, the  village Dandi known for the salt–satyagraha/protest and the spot where he was assassinated in January 1947 in Delhi. These four places are world famous as the Gandhi sites.

There is one more important place intimately related to the Gandhi-saga, and that is the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, Maharashtra, a 150 kms south of  Bombay. It was here that he was kept prisoner for several years and here that his wife and the most trusted life-companion Kasturba died while in prison. Mahadev Desai, the Boswell-like figure in Gandhi’s life and his closest associate for decades, too breathed his last at the same location, leaving Gandhi a forlorn figure, the great tragic hero of modern Indian history.

The venue chosen for the 84th PEN Congress, the Hotel Hyatt Regency is situated a few minutes walking distance from the Aga Khan Palace.

A symbolic Inaugural Ceremony for the 84th PEN Congress in the form of a silent tribute will be held on the 25thSeptember evening at the Gandhi Memorial in the erstwhile prison.


  • Tuesday September 25th: Meetings of PEN International Standing Committees
  • Wednesday September 26th: Main Assembly of Delegates of the PEN Congress
  • Thursday September 27th: Main Assembly of Delegates of the PEN Congress
  • Friday September 28th: PEN Delegates participate in the Language Diversity ‘vari’ (festival) and meet Dakshinayan members
  • Saturday September 29th: Main Assembly of Delegates of the PEN Congress

Speakers and Panels

The main speakers will include Ngugi wa Thiongo, Ashok Vajpeyi, Gulam Mohammed Shiekh, Ashis Nandy and more (whose confirmation is awaited)

There will be twenty parallel panel discussions on the afternoon/evening of Friday 28th September distributed over the city of Pune. These will be held in collaboration with various Indian literary organizations on a range of themes closely related to the four thematic Committees of PEN International – the Writers in Prison Committee, the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, the Writers for Peace Committee and the Women Writers Committee – as well as the three themes of the Congress – Diversity, Freedom and Truth.

Registration Process

PEN Centres interested in participating are required to send a mail to expressing the desire to participate in the 84th PEN Congress.

On receiving the expression of interest, access to the Congress-2018 registration site will be sent enabling you to register online and to transfer the registration fee.

Closing date for registration

30 May 2018

Delegate Registration Fees

Delegates fees are decided keeping in view economic disparities between various economic zones and have therefore been decided in-line with the PEN International dues structure.

Registration Fees (excluding accommodation):

  • Registration Fee for PEN Centres in PEN International Membership Category 1 & 2:  USD 450/Euro 370
  • Registration Fee for PEN Centres in the PEN International Membership Category 3 & 4: USD 350/ Euro 290
  • Registration Fee for Indian Delegate: USD 200/ Rs.  14,000
  • Please consult with colleagues at your PEN Centre if you are unsure which PEN International membership category your Centre is in.

The fees for any accompanying person will also be as above.

Travel to Pune

Pune has an airport and the best way of travelling to Pune is by air.

Bombay (also spelt as Mumbai), 160 kms north of Pune is a major hub of all international airlines. The travel from the Bombay airport to Pune by car is 3 hrs.30 minutes and can be organised at a cost of USD 50.

Similarly, the Pune to Bombay airport car journey can be organised at cost.


After receiving the on-line registration and payment of registration fees, a formal letter in support of visa applications will be sent by the hosts to the registered delegates.  Grant of Indian visa may take up to 30 working days from the time of submission of the visa application.

Weather in Pune 

During September, the day temperature in Pune ranges between 27-30 centigrade.

Occasional heavy shower can be expected as this month is the last month of the Indian Monsoon.


Accommodation is being arranged at Hotel Hyatt Regency at rates substantially reduced from their normal tariff especially for the PEN Congress delegates.

A room in Hyatt will cost USD 110 per night of stay from the 24th to 29th September.

If some delegates wish to look for slightly less expensive accommodation, other hotels close to Hyatt can be organised at a tariff of USD 80 to 90.  However, a maximum number of delegates staying at Hyatt would help from the logistic point of view. And, considering what Hyatt Hotel offers, the price is really reasonable.  Delegates will be given access to the accommodation booking link for on-line booking during the registration process.

Tours and Travel to Sites of Interest 

Tours can be organized for delegates to visit historical places and sites of cultural interest near Pune as well as in other parts of India.

A list of such sites and details of tours related to them will be available to the delegates on the 84th  Congress website by May/June, four months ahead of the Congress.

Local Hosts 

PEN South India Centre

Conference Committee:  Arshia Sattar, Damodar Mauzo, Kavitha Murlidharan, Kanann Sundaram

Intellectual Partner 

Centre for Multidisciplinary Development Centre, Dharwad

Conference Director:

Ganesh Devy, 0091-9879019130,