SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hundreds of writers, editors, translators and publishers from across the globe celebrate the achievement of 2010 Nobel Prizes by Mario Vargas Llosa and Liu Xiaobo and call for the release of Xiaobo and his wife.
At PEN International’s 77th annual Congress in Belgrade today, delegates from over 80 PEN Centres worldwide unanimously passed a motion to congratulate Mario Vargas Llosa, former PEN International President and 2010 Nobel Laureate for Literature, and Liu Xiaobo, founding president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre and 2010 Nobel Laureate for Peace. John Ralston Saul, PEN International President, said: “we follow the model of writers like Mario Vargas Llosa and Liu Xiaobo. They are illustrations of PEN International’s indivisible commitment to both literature and freedom of speech.”
PEN members also took the opportunity to use their collective voice and call on the Chinese authorities: “We seize on this historic moment to call for the release from prison of Liu Xiaobo and the release from house arrest of this wife, Liu Xia.”
Liu Xiaobo, the prominent Chinese dissident writer who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009, was the founder and first president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. He has since been made honorary member of nine PEN Centres. Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia in 2010. Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of the Writers in Prison PEN Committee, attended the award ceremony. “Members of the PEN community were honoured to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo last December,” said Botsford Fraser. “But not a single member of Liu’s family or anyone from mainland China was allowed to attend, and the award was laid upon an empty chair. The PEN community will continue to fight for the unconditional release of our colleague, Liu Xiaobo.”
Notes to editors:
PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, our global community of writers now comprises 144 Centres spanning more than 100 countries. Our programmes, campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers for global solidarity and cooperation. PEN International is a non-political organization and holds consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO.
For more information and to request interviews please contact our press office:
penoffice@pen-international | email@example.com | + 44 (0) 20 7405 0338 .
Or contact our Executive Director Laura McVeigh: +44 (0)7824640527