Writers gather for PEN congress in Berlin

22nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 May 2006, BERLIN - Some 450 writers from round the world were gathering in Berlin Monday for this week's congress of International PEN, the world association of writers, with persecution of authors a main theme.

22 May 2006

BERLIN - Some 450 writers from round the world were gathering in Berlin Monday for this week's congress of International PEN, the world association of writers, with persecution of authors a main theme.

Jiri Grusa, the president of International PEN, said in reference to Russia, "Even in Europe, not everything is the way it should be."

Grusa, who is Czech, said 1,000 authors around the world were in serious danger of harm and 200 were in prison serving sentences of 20 years or more. Last year, 37 authors and journalists had been killed because of their work.

He told reporters countries where the plight of writers was criticial included Iran, Turkey and Cuba.

This week's meeting has the theme, "Writing in a World Without Peace," and is the 72nd International PEN congress. It will discuss persecution of writers, repressive press laws and how libel suits prevent authors from saying what they wish.

Germany's President Horst Koehler and German Nobel Literature laureate Guenter Grass were to open the conference on Tuesday, and the writers, who hail from 80 nations, were to be received on Wednesday by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Johano Strasser, president of the German PEN Centre (national association), noted Monday that the members were meeting in a different Germany from the one they saw at the last International PEN meeting in 1986 in Hamburg, West Germany.

This week's venue in reunified Berlin is close to the site of the Berlin Wall that divided the country until 1989.

 

DPA

Subject: German news

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