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Day of the Dead logo - Posasa-Maxine Young

November 2 marks the Day of the Dead, when the families and friends of the departed in Latin America and beyond commemorate the lives of their loved ones. PEN International has long campaigned for freedom of expression and safety and security of journalists in Latin America, but journalists and writers in the region continue to be murdered at an alarming rate, while the perpetrators are all too rarely brought to justice.

This year, PEN calls on its Centres across the world to mark the day by taking at least one of the following actions:

  • Build a Day of the Dead altar in memory of killed and disappeared print journalists and writers for use at a reading, demonstration or other public event;
  • Organise a public reading of poetry and articles written for PEN’s Day of the Dead and other relevant texts;
  • Write your own poems or articles to read at events and/or publish in the press (please feel free to send these to PEN International; we may consider including them in an online anthology at a later date);
  • Place a death notice or obituary in your local or national newspapers announcing the death of one of the journalists listed in the attached documents (you could ask if the newspaper will donate the space). For example:

Javier Valdez
15 May 2017
and 87 other Mexican journalists and writers murdered between 2004 and 2017
Cause: death by impunity

  • Encourage your national and local media to cover PEN’s Day of the Dead 2017: write a press release; publish the poetry and articles written for the campaign and other relevant texts; hold a press conference; carry out media interviews; etc.


We encourage all participating Centres to record their activities and send us a report including any photographs by 2 December 2017.

For more information, please contact Emma Wadsworth-Jones, Asia and Americas Programme Coordinator, at PEN International, Unit A Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN – Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 – email: emma.wadsworth-jones@pen-international.org