90 Foreign Writers to Attend the 50th International Writers' Meeting in Bled this Week

By , 17 Apr 2018, 10:52 AM News
90 Foreign Writers to Attend the 50th International Writers' Meeting in Bled this Week Image from the event's programme

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The Alpine resort of Bled will host from Wednesday to Saturday the 50th International Writers' Meeting, which is to bring together a record 90 authors from abroad. Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, will be in the focus of the event. 

STA, 16 April 2018 – Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist who received the prize in 2003, will address the opening on Wednesday evening together with Jennifer Clement, an American-Mexican author who became the first woman president of PEN International in 2015.

Slovene PEN president Ifigenija Simonović said that the Bled meeting was the only of its kind to bring together writers from all over the world, including from countries which are on the opposite sides politically and ideologically.

"The fact that we've persevered for as many as 50 years is very encouraging and shows that we're here to stay," she said at a news conference in Ljubljana on Monday.

Before the event gets in full swing, Clement and Ebadi will have their books, Prayers for the Stolen and Iran Awakening, launched in Ljubljana on Tuesday.

Ebadi became a judge at 23 and worked for the oppressed already under the rule of the last shah of Iran, which was toppled in 1979.

"She is very socially critical and fights against social injustices," the chair of the Writers for Peace Committee at PEN International, Slovenian author Marjan Strojan, said as he announced the guest.

Writers will, however, move to Bled already on Tuesday afternoon for a meeting of PEN International's Women's Committee.

The meeting is especially important because women were invited to PEN 90 years ago, explained the secretary of the Writers for Peace Committee, Edvard Kovač.

On the same day, Slavic writers will discuss censorship and self-censorship in totalitarian regimes and young democracies.

Wednesday will be particularly busy as networks of writers from the Balkans, Mediterranean and Alpine-Adriatic regions will hold meetings.

According to Strojan, PEN centres from the Balkans will get a document which will call for a peaceful resolution of conflicts among countries in the region.

Meanwhile, the Writers for Peace Committee will meet to discuss two draft resolutions - on nuclear weapons and on chemical weapons.

If the drafts are endorsed, the resolutions will be discussed and adopted by PEN International at its congress in India in summer, he said.

Slovene PEN as the organiser of the Bled meeting will also mark the 50th anniversary of the event with several publications.

A collection of essays from two panels to be held on Thursday has already been published: Wall, Fence, Border; and Literature as the Right to Dreams, as well as a monograph on the five decades of the Bled meetings.

On Friday, the writers will move back to Ljubljana for a day packed with events culminating at the National Gallery in the evening with literature and music, while the farewell event will be Saturday's visit to the town of Cerknica and its surroundings.

The honorary sponsor of the writers' meeting, which will be attended by authors from 35 PEN centres, is President Borut Pahor.

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