KCL English PEN is a campaign group working to salvage the voices of journalists and other writers in countries where their voices are suffocated.
A registered charity, PEN gathers the information of such journalists and political activists all over the world, particularly in countries such as Vietnam, China and Sri Lanka. These writers are mainly either imprisoned or captured, or in many tragic cases, have merely disappeared. This happens for no good reason except for the fact that their opinions are controversial and their writing is considered outspoken.
This is unacceptable.
At KCL PEN, one of our main methods of helping these people is to lobby Governments, raising their awareness of the injustice these people are facing and to hopefully bring the lost citizens to their attention. This is done through our weekly letter-writing sessions where members of the charity write to presidents or prime ministers, political ministers and so on. It is uplifting when we hear news such as earlier this year, when the prisoner, Albert Santiago du Bouchet, was released from Cuba and returned to Spain. This leaves no more imprisoned writers in Cuba, a country that just over a year ago had more writers in prison than anywhere else in Latin America!
At Christmas time we also send Christmas cards to imprisoned writers who are separated from their families and lacking in hope and inspiration. The aim of these cards is to let them know that they are being thought about, and to bring some little joy into their lives at a time where they feel most alone and isolated.
Student Pen provides a great chance to flex those campaigning muscles and to get involved with the brilliant work that English PEN do. Over the summer we also held the very first Student Pen summit, where groups from universities all over the country came to London and discussed how to make student pen a larger, better-known and more productive force.
If anyone would like to know a little more about the running of the group then please send us an email at [email protected]. It’s never too late to get involved.