PEN International is gearing up for November 15th, the 33rd Day of the Imprisoned Writer, which honors, and coordinates initiatives on behalf of, “writers who have suffered persecution as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression. Each year PEN Centres and members worldwide commemorate the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to raise awareness of the unjust imprisonment and other forms of attack against writers around the globe, to remember those who have been killed, and stand in solidarity with imprisoned and threatened colleagues.”
The five writers highlighted by PEN International this year to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer range from Chinese writer and journalist Gao Yu, held in detention on suspicion of “leaking state secrets abroad,” to Nelson Aguilera, children’s author and member of PEN Paraguay, currently fighting a prison sentence for alleged plagiarism of a work whose author just happens to be the sister of a minister of the Paraguayan Supreme Court of Justice. Writers including Alberto Manguel, Yann Martell and Luisa Valenzuela have already spoken out on behalf of these writers, and for imprisoned writers in general, as part of the PEN International activities.
“November 15 is a day of action and acknowledgement,” said Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. “It is PEN’s way of saying to all of our 900 imprisoned, harassed, murdered and disappeared writers: you are not silenced. You are not forgotten. We stand with you and fight for you.”