Ma Thida and Sean Turnell at Sydney Writers Festival

Sean Turnell and Ma Thida each spent years in Myanmar’s terrifying Insein prison. How did they survive? What hope do these important players in Myanmar’s government and politics hold for the return of democracy three years after the military seized power in a coup? 

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PEN Sydney condemns the death sentence issued to Toomaj Salehi and demands his immediate release.

Yang Henjung trial deeply flawed

Australian PEN Centres deeply condemn suspended death sentence handed to Australian writer imprisoned in China.

Freedom to write
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PEN Sydney has been protecting freedom of expression for more than 90 years. We also defend writers here and around the globe who are at risk of being silenced.

With the support of our members – a community of writers, readers, translators and activists – we celebrate writing in all its forms through our public conversations, publications and activism.

We are an affiliate of PEN International and are inspired by their charter, which states Literature knows no frontiers.

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The PEN Sydney magazine has compelling articles about freedom of expression, the imprisonment of writers and journalists, the literary world and original fiction and poetry.

It’s published twice a year in print and online and distributed for free to PEN Sydney members and at writers’ festivals and bookshops.

FROM OUR WRITERS

PEN Sydney works to free writers who are at risk of being silenced. Their words and courage give us the motivation to continue.

“The role that writers can play in times of uncertainty, diligently curating narratives to nourish empathy, encompassing glimpses of joy and ultimately offering the gift of hope, lacks formal recognition, and this lack of acknowledgement or coherent protections can ultimately decimate expression and propel rampant self-censorship.”

Ma Thida

A Burmese human rights activist, surgeon and writer. She spent six years in Burma’s Insein prison for her pro-democracy activism. She has published 26 books, including her prison memoir Prisoner of Conscience; My Steps through Insein and A-maze both available in English. She is the Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison committee

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