Ukraine hosts the PEN International Congress for the first time. The Lviv edition of the event is presented as an international platform to unite writers and talk about the rights of those repressed and in exile.
The 83rd PEN International Congress will take place in Lviv on September 17-24. The event held annually unites over 200 writers from 100 countries. The topic of this year’s Congress is “Reclaiming truth in times of propaganda”. Ukraine was not an occasional choice as a place for the Congress. “The decision is a gesture of international solidarity, writers’ solidarity with Ukraine,” emphasized Mykola Riabchuk, program director of the 83rd PEN International Congress in Lviv, president of the Ukrainian Centre of PEN International at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Organizers expect over 156 official delegates of PEN International centers in 80 countries. Among them are the writers from Uganda, Nepal, Eritrea, Lebanon, the Gambia etc. Representatives of PEN International exiled from Iran and Northern Korea will attend the congress as well. The event will also feature a series of events open to the wide public. “The focus event is the evening dedicated to Oleg Sentsov and other imprisoned writers. The program features political, literary and artistic components,” said Olha Mukha, coordinator of the team of the 83rd PEN International Congress in Lviv and Head of the Project Office “Lviv – UNESCO City of Literature”. All public events will be broadcast and translated into Ukrainian, as PEN International itself has three official languages: English, French, and Spanish. To attend the events preliminary registration is required.
The Congress will touch upon the events in Crimea and Donbas. “We will demonstrate the film ‘The Return’ (Qaytarma) on the tragedy of Crimean Tatars. It is the first and the only film on the deportation of Crimean Tatars of 1944,” said Gulnara Bekirova, member of the Ukrainian Center of PEN International, editor of the ATR TV channel. “By the end of the Congress the writers will present the resolution that will touch upon the freedom of speech in Ukraine, writers in exile, and repressed writers,” said Olha Honchar, Coordinator of PR and Communications at the 83rd PEN International Congress in Lviv.
Partners of this year’s Congress are Ukraine’s ministries, embassies, public and private foundations, online media, etc. The overall number of partners exceeds 100. Among them is the International Renaissance Foundation, the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine, Lviv City Council, Polish Institute in Kyiv, Kennan Institute Kyiv Office. Main media partners are Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Lviv Media Forum, Lviv International Airport and Ukrainian Radio (national public broadcaster).
Follow the schedule of public events and get registered to attend them through the PEN Congress Facebook page.