Sydney PEN’s Writers in Prison works with International PEN to select the urgent regional cases that feature in our public advocacy campaigns. We prepare letters to relevant individuals which can be printed, signed and posted by anyone who cares about freedom to read and write.

Often these campaigns have led to the appointment of individual writers as Honorary Members of our centre. We also prepare Writers in Prison profiles of these writers, for The Empty Chair installation and announcement at public events.

In the past year, our campaign cases have been focused on the regions of Burma (Myanmar), China, Tibet Autonomous Region and Vietnam.

Profiled here are the campaigns we have recently launched and continue to monitor. The writers in our campaign cases are featured in The Empty Chair installed at the City Campus Library and Tower Building of the University of Technology, Sydney.



Liu Xiaobo

Writer, academic and Honorary President of Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Liu Xiaobo, has been in prison since 2009. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, while in prison.

Tashi Rabten

International PEN is seriously concerned for the welfare of Tibetan writer and editor Tashi Rabten who was reportedly given a four-year prison sentence in July 2011.

Liu Xia - China

Chinese poet and prominent contemporary artist, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest in Beijing since 2010.

Nurmuhemmet Yasin

The young Uyghur writer and poet may have been tortured to death in prison, after being convicted for writing the short story "Wild Pigeon".

International Women's Day- 8 March 2012

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a writer. Take action for murdered and disappeared women writers in Mexico.

Father Nguyen Van Ly

Sydney PEN joins the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International in protesting the re-arrest of Father Nguyen Van Ly on 25 July 2011.

Liu Xianbin

Veteran Chinese dissident sentenced to ten years in prison

Gheyret Niyaz

Uyghur journalist and editor sentenced to fifteen years

Tan Zuoren

In February 2010 Chinese writer Tan Zuoren was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment for "inciting subversion of state power".