The first of many Café meetings…

We had our first official Student PEN meeting this week. We discussed what we’d like to do as a PEN society and brainstormed some great ways to promote freedom of speech & human rights on the Roehampton University Campus.

We’ve already got the ball rolling with Maja Hagen Torjussen‘s idea: Poetry BOOM!, a reading event for anyone interested in presenting their poetry. The theme is simply ‘to have a voice and use it.’ This is currently being organised, and it’s lovely to see so many people that want to get involved.

We also decided on attending the next English PEN event at the Free Word Centre: “Words cannot be killed: Freedom of expression in Bangladesh” on the 24th of February. Journalist, Tasneem Khalil, and Ahsan Akbar, Director of Dhaka Literary Festival, will discuss the state of freedom of expression in Bangladesh with BBC broadcaster Razia Iqbal. This will mark the one year anniversary since the death of three inspiring Bangladesh bloggers in early 2015. Similar attacks have occurred in different areas since their tragic murders, with other writers and supporting publishers being targeted by the Al-Qaeda (in the Indian Subcontinent, AQIS).

Hopefully, this Student PEN Society will be the start of a more open, active and empowering place for our University/local writing community to turn to when they want to present their creative masterpieces or random thoughts – whatever comes to mind 😉 We will be choosing a couple of campaigns at a time (that English PEN are supporting) and doing different things to raise awareness for the cause. We believe in the importance of a solid global support community in order to stop any country/authority or political group from crushing freedom of speech and oppressing people’s views.

If anyone has any ideas for creative events or ways to promote the campaigns please go to our Facebook page, join, and leave a comment: Roehampton Student PEN

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