A letter from Scottish PEN President, Ricky Monahan Brown, to our membershipMarch 9, 2022
In light of the terrible ongoing events in Ukraine, the Board thought that we should take the opportunity to update the membership of Scottish PEN regarding the statements we have shared so far, what we are currently doing, and what concrete steps members can take to further the aims of PEN International and support readers and writers in Ukraine.
At the outset of the conflict, Scottish PEN quickly shared a message affirming its commitment to the principles of the PEN International Charter, pursuant to which members of PEN International and its chapters around the world agree to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in one world.
On Sunday, 27 February, members of the Board of Trustees joined Nobel Laureates and over a thousand writers and artists worldwide in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in an unprecedented letter addressed to our friends and colleagues in Ukraine that you can read on the PEN International website or at the Guardian. This letter was coordinated at breakneck speed by our colleagues at PEN International, and we certainly would certainly welcome any of our members further disseminating that letter and adding their voices to its message to the extend they are able to do so.
The Board is maintaining correspondence with the European Programme Coordinator at PEN International regarding what steps we can most usefully take to continue to support the goals of PEN International in Ukraine. We will also be meeting with our colleagues in the Welsh, Irish and English chapters of PEN International to discuss our ongoing response to the conflict.
If members are keen to take further concrete action, we would direct them to the public fundraiser organised by PEN Ukraine together with PEN Belarus, the Polish PEN Club and the Open Culture Foundation to support the creative community of Ukraine. The organising bodies intend to use the funds raised to alleviate the urgent needs of Ukrainian creatives, whose lives are now in direct danger, by facilitating urgent evacuation and resettlement actions.
The Board hopes that the members of Scottish PEN will find this communication informative and helpful. We share the concerns of the membership over events in Ukraine, and I am sure I speak for all of the Board when I tell you how much we appreciate your engagement with the plight of people in Ukraine, as well as your continuing support.
Ricky (Monahan Brown)
President, Scottish PEN