ABOUT

We are the Scottish branch of PEN International, a not-for-profit organisation that champions freedom of speech and literature across borders.



“The written word explains us to ourselves and others. Every nation, large or small, needs free speech – and to support PEN.”

– Ian Rankin, Scottish PEN Member

We are the Scottish branch of PEN International, a not-for-profit organisation that champions freedom of speech and literature across borders.

PEN’s work is more important than ever. We live in a climate of self-censorship, fear, and uncertainty that restricts how we share ideas. Communications across borders are spied on and impeded. Writers around the world are censored, imprisoned, even sentenced to death. Those who escape into exile live in perpetual displacement and struggle to find a voice.

Scottish PEN defends these writers and their freedom of expression, freedom of press, and, most importantly, freedom to critique.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Challenge all efforts to silence writers through campaigns and legal means
  • Create an open forum where writers and readers can discuss issues affecting freedom of expression, from censorship to digital surveillance
  • Champion translation and minority languages, in particular Gaelic writing
  • Support writers who are more likely to be marginalised and attacked for their writing
  • Support writers in exile who are resident in Scotland

HOW DO WE DO THIS?

  • Run campaigns on behalf of oppressed and imprisoned writers
  • Work with other human rights and literature organisations to campaign about legislation
  • Organise public events championing free expression, international writers, and marginalised voices
  • Run education programmes and workshops in schools, colleges and libraries
  • Publish exiled writers living in Scotland in our online magazine