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‘Digital Frontiers – Linguistic Rights and Freedom of Speech’

Registration for the 79th Congress is now open. To register, view the programme of events and find out more please visit Icelandic PEN’s dedicated website.

“The members of the Icelandic PEN Centre along with the citizens of the world’s northernmost capital look forward to your visit and to share with you their cultural heritage, their works and thoughts on the importance of the written and spoken word for the betterment of the society and the world”
Sjón, President of the Icelandic PEN Centre

At this year’s Congress all delegates will have the opportunity to:

• Participate in a series of Free the Word! events including panel discussions on digital rights and challenges to freedom of expression, linguistic rights in the digital age and PEN’s New Voices award. (Further Free the Word! Events to be announced shortly)
• Give readings of your work in public spaces across Reykjavik
• Gather and meet other international writers at the PEN Congress Cultural Evening where the winner of the New Voices Award will be announced
• Participate in Centre trainings on digital security, Centre finance and fundraising, public policy and engagement with international organisations, running campaigns using effective communication, and Centre development / increasing membership
• Attend literary events taking place as part of the International Reykjavik Festival, including a Literary Ball and a reception at the Presidential residence
Connect with PEN Centres and writers from across the world
• Take a literary tour around Reykjavik
• Hear keynote speeches given by Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta and English Poet and activist James Fenton
• Visit the wonderful Gullfoss Waterfall, The Great Geysir and Thingvellir National Park
• ……… and more!

(The full programme of events will be added here shortly)

A literary partnership: the Reykjavik literary festival

This year, the Reykjavik literary festival will begin during the Congress week; delegates will be welcome to attend readings and panels and have the opportunity to give public readings of their own work at public venues throughout the city.

Writers taking part in the festival include Canadian Writer Douglas Coupland, Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou, Belarus writer Svetland Alexievich, Novelist Kiran Desai, Icelandic Poet, Kjell Espmark, Chinese writer and literary critic Can Xue, Danish writer Kim Leine, British playwright, Rachel Joyce, Icelandic authors, Þorstein frá Hamri and Auður Jónsdóttir, Bulgarian fiction writer Georgi Gospodinov, American Novelist Madeline Miller, Palestinian Poet Mazen Maarouf and many more………

“Iceland has a remarkable and large family of contemporary writers. All of them are members of Icelandic PEN. Their President, the novelist Sjón, and his colleagues are putting together a Congress which will mark another step in our attempts to make these gatherings more informal and inclusive.”
John Ralston Saul, President of PEN International

Nurturing young talent

The 2013 Congress will also see the launch of the PEN International/New Voices award. The award will provide a space for young and unpublished writers to submit their work and actively encourage entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities. Three writers shortlisted for the award will attend Congress to read their work.

To view photographs from the 2012 PEN Congress in Gyeongju, South Korea, click here.