Press release of 25, April 2024

Free Toomaj Salehi!

»Rapper Toomaj Salehi sentenced to death: PEN Berlin joins the call of Ye-One Rhie, a member of the Bundestag who has taken on a ›political godparenthood‹ for Salehi. ›Mullahs of Iran, revoke the death penalty for Salehi and drop the charges! And finally stop torturing people. Grant freedom of expression. The more you try to brutally suppress the critical words of your citizens, the louder we hear them‹, said PEN Berlin spokesperson Deniz Yücel.« MORE


Press release of 26, March 2024

Julian Assange: No victory, just no defeat

»”Julian Assange could not win today; for him it was only a matter of not losing – as so often in the past 13 years”, Menasse said. (…) PEN Berlin recalls that Julian Assange has been in prison for over 13 years because of the publications of WikiLeaks. However, no one has yet been brought to justice for the war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed by WikiLeaks.« MORE



Press release of 20, Februar 2024
Julian Assange: The Dreyfus of our century

​​On the threat of Julian Assange’s extradition to the US: »The Assange case is an act of arbitrary justice and is already a serious defeat for liberal democracy and the rule of law in Europe.« MORE





Press release of 18, February 2024
No to cancellation, yes to conversation

​​»PEN Berlin strongly criticises the disinvitation of the writer and columnist Ronya Othmann, our former board member, from the Karachi Literature Festival. (…) It is irritating, even disturbing, that the signatories include many writers and intellectuals who would claim freedom of expression at any time.« MORE


Press release of December 16, 2023
General assembly of PEN Berlin

The writers′ association PEN Berlin held its second regular general meeting on Friday. Spokespersons Eva Menasse and Deniz Yücel regretted the resignations of some members who had attracted media attention in recent weeks in the wake of the Middle East conflict, but reaffirmed the association′s commitment to political diversity. MORE


Press release of December 3, 2023
Release our honorary member Toomaj Salehi!

»The Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi was beaten by armed police on the streets of Tehran on 30 November and taken to an unknown location. He had previously posted a video on social media describing the torture he had been subjected to during his last eleven months in prison.(…) Deniz Yücel, spokesperson for PEN Berlin, said: ›While the world focuses on Israel and Gaza, the Islamist dictatorship is executing more and more opponents of the regime‹.« MORE


Press release of November 29, 2023
Causa Sharon Dodua Otoo: PEN Berlin calls for a sense of proportion

»PEN Berlin is fundamentally opposed to any politically motivated boycott of art and culture. The BDS approach is wrong and incompatible with the values of the PEN Charter. But it is equally wrong to turn this misguided approach against its supporters. In light of the increasing number of cases in recent weeks, we strongly remind cultural institutions in Germany of their duty of care towards recognised artists.« MORE


Foto: adobeStock – MiReh 565272394

Press release of November 23, 2023
On the judgement of the Munich Regional Court: Criminalisation of Last Generation goes too far

In principle, an open society must be able to tolerate that political discourse sometimes takes the form of a melee, which – without using violence against people – may include one or two minor breaches of the law. For their part, activists must accept that criminal offences such as damage to property will be punished. MORE


Foto: Lukas Lienhard / Diogenes Verlag

Press release of November 13, 2023
Belarus: Father of writer Filipenko jailed

On the morning of November 9, the father of well-known Belarusian writer and dissident Sasha Filipenko was taken away by several armed men in the capital, Minsk. This is a clear case of clan responsibility and intimidation, unfortunately common in Russia and its satellite states. The parents were forced to lie on the floor, their home was searched and their personal belongings taken. MORE


Press release of October 20, 2023
PEN Berlin supports Seyran Ateş: Our Salman Rushdie!

»Following the uncovering of plans by an offshoot of the Islamic State terror militia to attack the progressive Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in Berlin, PEN Berlin has expressed its solidarity with its founding member Seyran Ateş. ›Fortunately, the killers were stopped in time‹, said PEN Berlin spokesperson Deniz Yücel.« MORE


Press release of October 13, 2023
Not a minor detail: Let Adania Shibli get awarded!

»No book becomes different, better, worse or more dangerous because the news situation changes. A book is either worthy of a prize or not.« (…) »The fact that something must be able to be said does not mean that it is beyond criticism. The Book Fair should be the place to have such debates – not to stifle them«. MORE


Press release of October 9, 2023
Goethe Institutes: You better save!

It comes as no surprise that the Goethe Institutes (with a current annual budget of 239 million euros) are having to cut costs. After years of pandemic and a wartime energy crisis, the traditionally expansive German cultural work abroad has been hit. MORE


Press release of October 2, 2023
We have not forgotten Ján Kuciak

PEN Berlin is concerned about the situation of freedom of expression in Slovakia after the left-wing populist politician Robert Fico again won the parliamentary elections on Sunday. »No one should forget that Fico had to resign in the wake of the protests following the brutal murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová«, said PEN Berlin spokesperson Deniz Yücel. MORE


Press release of September 28, 2023
Why the hell not: PEN Berlin now member of PEN International

PEN Berlin has officially become a member of the international PEN family! At this year’s General Assembly, held via videoconference from Tuesday to Thursday, PEN Berlin received the necessary two-thirds majority of votes cast. »We are thrilled«, said Eva Menasse. MORE


Press release of July 30, 2023
Cuts in cultural programs at public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk

The BR wants to cut formats like »kulturWelt«, »Diwan: Das Büchermagazin«, »Kulturjournal: Kritik Dialog Essay«, »Nachtstudio«, »radioTexte – die Lesungen«, as well as in-house radio dramas. The cuts affect seven hours of broadcasting time each week. Critics within the station say that »culture is becoming a niche product«. This was reported by the Münchner Abendzeitung. PEN Berlin strongly protests against this decision. MORE


Press release of June 21, 2023
Cultural and media associations condemn defamatory film series about Osman Kavala 

Turkish-German Forum of Culture, PEN International, PEN Centre Germany, (aspiring) PEN Berlin, Academy of Science and Reporters without Borders are deeply concerned about the broadcast of a film series on the streaming service of the Turkish state broadcaster TRT, which shows a discrediting and disparaging portrayal of cultural promoter and intellectual Osman Kavala. MORE


Press release of June 20, 2023
Yavuz Ekinci arrived in Berlin

The well-known Turkish-Kurdish writer Yavuz Ekinci has been tried several times in Turkey for tweets and sentenced to 18 months probation; his novel »Dream Splinters« was recently banned and confiscated. Now he has arrived in Berlin. MORE


Press release of June 14, 2023
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija honored with Václav Havel Prize

PEN Berlin congratulates its newly elected member Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who was awarded the »Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent« in Oslo today.  The 35-year-old lawyer and writer is a celebrity in his native Uganda for his satirical novels. MORE


Press release of June 10, 2023
PEN Berlin celebrates first birthday

The new authors’ association PEN Berlin, founded after conflicts in the German PEN Centre (Darmstadt), turned one year old on 10 June. To mark its first birthday, the association held a digital general meeting and elected 85 new members, including Esther Kinsky, Gerd Koenen, Felicitas von Lovenberg, Harald Martenstein and Tien-Chi Martin Liao. MORE


Press release of May 18, 2023
Turkey: Arrest warrant for Deniz Yücel

In the May hearing of the trial against the journalist and spokesperson of PEN Berlin, Deniz Yücel on charges of »insulting the president« and »openly degrading the Turkish state and the Turkish nation«, the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance ruled that a warrant for Yücel’s arrest should be issued. MORE


Press release of May 18, 2023
Georg Stefan Troller: Honorary member of PEN Berlin 

Georg Stefan Troller turns 102 this year. We are extremely pleased to welcome him as an honorary member of PEN Berlin. MORE


Foto: Renate von Mangoldt

Press release of May 14, 2023
We mourn the death of Sibylle Lewitscharoff

On Saturday, May 13, Sibylle Lewitscharoff, our esteemed colleague, Büchner Prize winner and founding member of PEN Berlin, died in Berlin after a long illness. She was an outstanding, immensely original, stupendously educated writer and artist, and an exemplary strong, free person. MORE


Press release of May 10, 2023
90 Years of Nazi book burnings

These days we are remembering the National Socialist book burnings that took place all over Germany ninety years ago in May. But if commemoration is not to degenerate into an empty formula, then we today must try to understand history: to recognize the differences, but also related tendencies. MORE


Press release of May 5, 2023
Solidarity with Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk

Yesterday, Moscow director Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk were arrested. Berkovich is a central figure in the alternative and resistant literary scene in Moscow and Russia. She has chosen not to go into exile and to fight for a democratic Russia, this is the reason why she is being harassed under unjustified allegations. MORE


Press release of April 17, 2023
Second aid delivery of the »Fire trucks for Kharkiv« campaign

Last weekend our driver Christian handed over the second aid delivery of the campaign »Fire trucks for Kharkiv« in Lviv to Switlana from the »Lviv Volunteers«. This organization will further transport the goods to Kharkiv to Serhiy Zhadan. MORE


Press release of January 12, 2023
Solidarity with Marko Vidojković

PEN Berlin observes with great concern the increasingly violent radicalization of the Serbian public. Citizens critical of the government, writers, and journalists are put under massive pressure and receive death threats. In recent years, at least four well-known journalists have been murdered, but the crimes have never been solved. MORE


Press release of January 7, 2023
Fire trucks to Kharkiv – We have delivered

PEN Berlin spokesperson Deniz Yücel and co-initiator Liane Bednarz today handed over urgently needed supplies to our Ukrainian colleague, writer, musician, and German Peace Prize laureate Serhij Zhadan: Two IVECO fire-fighting trucks, each with a 20kVA generator, a trailer with twenty-eight 8kVA diesel generators, one 50kVA diesel generator, (…) MORE



Press release of December 16, 2022
Mullahs, don’t you dare!

Over 150 influential writers, artists, politicians, and citizens are calling for overturning the death penalty for two Iranian women who have been sentenced to death on charges of »corruption on Earth through the promotion of homosexuality«. Amid the executions of protestors in Iran, concern has been rising over the fate of Zahra Sedighi and Elham Choubdar. MORE | VIDEO



Press release of December 13, 2022
Mullahs, don’t you dare!

We call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to suspend the death penalty in Saman Yasin’s case and to drop the charges against Toomaj Salehi. »Enmity against God« and »corruption on earth« are charges for which people should no longer be allowed to die in the 21st century. MORE


Press release of December 5, 2022
Congress and general meeting

Introduced by Daniel Kehlmann, PEN America President Ayad Akhtar gave the keynote address at Festsaal Kreuzberg. Akhtar criticized that »a climate of digital intimidation« is spreading in the U.S. »and with it the fear of speaking freely or even thinking freely«. On the initiative of Ralf Bönt PEN Berlin has launched the donation campaign »Fire trucks for Kharkiv«. MORE



Press release of November 16, 2022
Congress: The Trick is to Keep talking 

We promised – after our much-noticed foundation in June 2022, the association law is now followed by the content. MORE



Press release of November 14, 2022
Talking about Iran, talking with Chelsea Manning/span>

We would like to draw your attention to two events next week in Berlin:: Azadî in Progress. Revolution in Iran, LGBT+ and what the rest of the world can do. And: Readme. Talk with Chelsea Manning. MORE



Press release of October 14, 2022
Maybe not that bad: Program at the Frankfurt Book Fair

We would like to draw particular attention to the panel discussion with Omid Nouripour and Natalie Amiri, among others, as well as the discussion with Peace Prize winner Serhij Zhadan, Claudia Roth and Eva Menasse. MORE


Meral und Freunde

Press release of September 18, 2022
PEN Berlin continues to grow rapidly – Meral Şimşek is member

The writers‘ association PEN Berlin, which was only founded in June, elected over ninety new colleagues at its first online meeting last Saturday and now has 463 members. The new members include the well-known writers Adriana Altaras, Jackie Thomae, Vea Kaiser,… MORE


Julian Asange

Press release of September 7, 2022
An Evening for Julian Assange

»I have never seen a group of democratic states come together to deliberately isolate, demonise and disrespect a single individual for so long.« (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, on Julian Assange). MORE


Press release of August 23, 2022
Russia: Natalia Sivokhina sentenced

Our colleague Natalia Sivokhina, director of the St. Petersburg PEN Center, was arrested on June 22, 2022 and taken to the police station. There she was opened to the charge of disparaging the Russian armed forces on social media. MORE



Press release of August 18, 2022
Words against Violence: An evening for Salman Rushdie

PEN Berlin and the Berliner Ensemble have organized a reading at short notice as a convalescent salute to Salman Rushdie, one of the greatest writers of our time. As a sign of resistance against fanaticism and violence. MORE


Meral_SimsekPress release of July 20, 2022
Turkey: Persecuted author Meral Şimşek

PEN Berlin is happy to welcome Turkish-Kurdish writer and poet Meral Şimşek to Germany. We would like to thank all the people and institutions who have assisted in this outcome, in particular Nancy Faeser and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Klaus Lederer and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture. MORE


Tsitsi_DangarembgaPress release of June 24, 2022
Zimbabwe: Trial of Tsitsi Dangarembga

PEN-Berlin expresses its solidarity with its member Tsitsi Dangarembga. We call on the anti-corruption court in Harare (Zimbabwe) to immediately drop the case against the writer Dangarembga and the co-accused journalist Julie Barnes. MORE


Press release of June 17, 2022
UK: Extradition of Julian Assange

PEN Berlin is shocked by British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the US. We urge the German government to work for his immediate release, and to offer him political asylum. MORE



Press release of June 13, 2022
PEN Berlin founded. New: Wallraff, Sorokin, Bachér

On Friday, 10th of June 2022, PEN Berlin was legally founded as an association under German law in the Literaturhaus Berlin. Some 360 authors, translators and publicists joined the new association as founding members. MORE


Press release of June 7, 2022
PEN Berlin. We stand by our word

We want a new PEN. A contemporary and diverse PEN, that brings together writers and translators of all literary and journalistic genres writing in German or living in Germany. MORE

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