“The Kurdish people have the right to be educated in their mother tongue” – Elif Şafak, Hay-on-Wye. May 2013.
This week PEN International has been at the Hay-on-Wye Festival in the Brecon Beacons National Park as part of the global partnership with Hay Festivals. This year Elif Shafak, the author of Honour, The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love, gave the Raymond Williams Lecture in which she explored the responsibilities of a writer to give a voice to those who are silenced, from where a writer derives her identity and her own relationship with the silent letter of her Turkish alphabet – the ‘Ghost G’.
PEN International President, John Ralston Saul also talked about the issue of the Kurdish identity in Turkey, the struggle of the Kurdish population for linguistic rights and both writers discussed the importance of PEN International’s Girona Manifesto on Linguistic Rights as a tool for defending linguistic diversity around the world.
This week, Samar Yazbek, this year’s Oxfam Novib/PEN Award winner and author of A Woman In The Crossfire: Diaries Of The Syrian Revolution will talk to English PEN’s Jo Glanville about new writing in the Arab world.