Setting an example. Against anti-Semitism


The Regional Group West of PEN Berlin, together with the Cologne Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation and the Literaturhaus Cologne, invites you: Monday, 29 April, 7 pm | Literaturhaus Köln | Großer Griechenmarkt 39

The reading of texts by Jewish authors is intended to send out a signal against anti-Semitism and in favour of solidarity and peaceful co-existence in Germany..
Reading: Markus Berges, Dietlind Falk, Jörg Phil Friedrich, Andreas Graf, Julia Grinberg, Tamara Labas, Barbara Peveling, Mithu Melanie Sanyal, Simone Scharbert, Gundula Schiffer and Angela Steidele.
Admission is free of charge. You can register here.



»Protest farmers, Farmers’ protests«: Round table 5 March in Berlin


The smell of dung is in the air. For months, lines of tractors have been blocking motorways and city centers. The farmers’ anger at the traffic-light government shows no sign of abating. It is no longer just the cut in their subsidies that has upset them. Now the media want to impale them on their pitchforks: “Lying press, lying press” was the chant in Biberach in Baden-Württemberg, where Cem Özdemir’s official car was damaged and his Ash Wednesday event had to be canceled for security reasons. Between the proponents of a progressive awakening and the right-wingers, where do today’s farmers really stand, what problems do they have? And do they all share them? Are they just a problem for the traffic light coalition or for all of us?

With: Cem Özdemir (Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture), Karen Duve (writer and environmentalist), Reinhard Kaiser-Mühlecker (writer and farmer) und Nataša Kramberger (writer and farmer). Hosted by: Doris Akrap (journalist and Board PEN Berlin)

Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 7.15 pm

Humboldt Forum, Schlossplatz Berlin 

Admission: from 6.45 pm via Portal 3 (entrance on the left above the revolving door). Free admission

A PEN Berlin event at the Humboldt Forum. 


»When you go through hell, keep going!«: Book presentation 6 March in Berlin

The anthology “When you go through hell, keep going!” brings together the testimonies of eight women imprisoned in Belarus – representing the more than 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus. Cordelia Dvorák and Wanja Müller present the project, Olga Shparaga talks about the situation in Belarus, Angela Winkler reads texts by the prisoners.

With: Cordelia Dvorák, publisher; Wanja Müller, translator and Olga Shparaga, philosopher 

The German texts will be read by Angela Winkler, actress.

Date: Wednesday, 6 March 2024, 8 pm, Roter Salon der Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin

Admission: 8,00 Euro.

An event organized in cooperation with Goethe Institute in Exile, PEN Berlin, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, German Marshall Fund, Libereco, Razam and edition.fotoTAPETA.








Second PEN Berlin Congress: With Our Head Through the Walls

Media coverage and interviews on the congress and the general meeting


Opening speech of Deniz Yücel: »Even if this is often confused, the debate in Germany is fortunately not about the question ›Israel boycott: yes or no?‹, but about how to deal with artists who support the BDS campaign. (…) Because, in case of doubt, we are always in favour of keeping spaces for debate as open as possible. Because freedom of speech includes the freedom to say stupid, disturbing, even supposedly scandalous things. Because, like last year’s keynote speaker Ayad Akhtar, we are against any ›climate of digital intimidation‹. Because we don’t just reject Cancel Culture when it suits us. For all these reasons, we, the board of PEN Berlin, do not support a blanket boycott of everything and everyone that is somehow labelled ›BDS-related‹. Which is why we don’t support BDS. It’s logical, isn’t it?« FULL SPEECH

Speech by Ursula Krechel: »Everything is on the decline: The parties are losing members, the churches are standing frozen in horror at the huge numbers of people leaving, sports clubs are complaining that people no longer want to commit to a club, and the voluntary fire brigades are complaining that only a few people want to carry out voluntary roles – at the fire engine or in a burning house. Let others burn their fingers and snouts. And here we are: All volunteers with a job that our parents warned us about. Writers who have come together voluntarily, setting up working groups that try to offer protection to those in need. Branches all over the world, strong in quotas, diverse, super performers. FULL SPEECH (GERMAN)

Impulse speech by Adrian Daub: »There is a suspicion that what is being fussed about in Woke does not exist at all, or if it does, then only in the fussing about it. The criticism, the rejection, is the only thing that is really sharp in the characteristics.« FULL SPEECH (GERMAN)

Impulse speech by Susan Neiman: »As difficult as it may be in some cases to distinguish between justice and claims to power, the fundamental distinction is the basis of left-liberal thinking.« FULL SPEECH (GERMAN)

Keynote speech by A.L. Kennedy: »When PEN was founded in the UK of 1921, authoritarianism was rising as it is today. An emboldened British ruling class was, as it is today, disproportionately powerful and beguiled by the idea that good fortune is predetermined by blood and soil, that privilege isn’t privilege but divine right. A group of prominent writers took steps to defend writers of fiction, professional liars, if you will. I think, because of the truths central to what we do: all people are people, all have voices, the world is a difficult place and needs mercy, a good life finds its way in pursuing the next loving thing. That sounds weak, unfamiliar, odd even as I say it – but love is the strongest thing. It is to Britain’s eternal shame that, were PEN being founded today, it would be controversial in an energy-sapping way, condemned as an alien contaminant, an example of a self-aggrandising elite.« FULL SPEECH


Festsaal Kreuzberg, Am Flutgraben 2, 12435 Berlin
Saturday, 16 December 2023

2 p.m. | Opening Speech by Deniz Yücel (Journalist, spokesperson of PEN Berlin) | Festsaal

2.30 p.m. | Problem Baklava: Anti-Semitism & Racism In the Immigration Society
Panel | Festsaal
With: Imran Ayata (campaigner, author, DJ), Jouanna Hassoun (social manager, political trainer), Murat Kayman (lawyer, author) and Erica Zingher (journalist). Host: Daniel-Dylan Böhmer (journalist)

3 p.m. | Poetry As a Way Of Life. Between Networking And Institution
Panel | Kaminzimmer
With: Hendrik Jackson (poet), Birgit Kreipe (poet) and Daniela Seel (poet, publisher). Host: Asmus Trautsch (philosopher, poet)

3.30 p.m. | Talking On Unsteady Ground: Israel & Palestine
Panel | Festsaal
With: Fadi Abdelnour (publisher, bookseller), Sarah El Bulbeisi (cultural scientist), Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus (writer) and Yehudit Yinhar (artist). Host: Elisabeth von Thadden (journalist)

4 p.m. | Me, Mysefl and I: In The Hell Of Autofiction
Panel | Kaminzimmer
With: Katja Lange-Müller (writer), Dirk von Lowtzow (musician, poet) and Miryam Schellbach (literary critic, programme director). Host: Christian Ankowitsch (journalist, writer)

4.30 p.m. | The Spirit Of Freedom Of Speech | Festsaal
Ursula Krechel (writer, Vice President of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz)

4.45 p.m. | What Is Woke, Where Is Left? | Festsaal
Impulse speeches. Followed by a discussion with the audience
With: Adrian Daub (literary scholar), Susan Neiman (philosopher) and The Audience (audience). Host: Jan Feddersen (journalist)

5 p.m. | After The Death Row In Iran: Sareh | Kaminzimmer
With: Sareh (Zahra Sedighi Hamedani) (LGBT activist), Shadi Amin (author, LGBT activist). Host: Shila Behjat (journalist)

6 p.m. | Belarus: On a Forgotten Dictatorship in Europe | Festsaal
Sasha Filipenko (writer)

6.15 p.m. | To Bot Or Not To Bot? Artificial Intelligences Versus Human Beings
Poetry Slam | Festsaal
With: Bas Böttcher (writer, slam poet), Lucia Lucia (writer, slam poet), Jayrôme Robinet (writer, slam poet) and Temye Tesfu (writer, slam poet). Host: Aron Boks (writer, slam poet)

7.30 p.m. | Keynote speech by A.L. Kennedy (writer) | Festsaal

8.30 p.m. | Take a Breath, then Disco | Festsaal
With: Doris Akrap (journalist) & Simone Buchholz (writer, Board PEN Berlin)

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