Writers at Risk

The Writers at Risk Committee is PEN’s watchdog. We campaign for imprisoned and persecuted writers all over the world, people who are punished for saying what they think.


You Can Help

Professor Bashabi Fraser organises our Rapid Action Network, sending out alerts and calls for action in support of writers under threat. Contact her at B.Fraser@napier.ac.uk

The Writers at Risk Committee also fights to maintain freedom of expression in our own country. People take it for granted in the affluent West, but our rights are constantly being eroded – by government, through repressive laws and covert surveillance, and by self-censorship in the media, usually for economic reasons.

As well as writing letters to governments and embassies and campaigning for freedom of expression, we take part in events to publicise these issues.

If you would like to help us in our work, please contact Jane Archer: janearcher22 [at] yahoo.co.uk

Writers we represent

Ashraf Fayadh

Palestinian poet arrested for accusations of apostasy in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabian blogger imprisoned and sentenced to 1000 lashings for insulting Islam.

Ragip Zarakolu

Turkish writer living in exile after writing about atrocities against Armenian and Kurdish people.

Liu Xiaobo

Chinese writer imprisoned for 11 years for criticising single-party government.

Lydia Cacho

Mexican journalist targeted for exposing paedophile rings, human trafficking, and political corruption.

Causes we fight

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is a 21 year old man sentenced to death for alleged crimes committed when he was 17. This is against international conventions that Saudi Arabia itself has signed.

Turkey’s State of Emergency

Scottish PEN’s own letter protesting about the situation was handed into the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15th November. It was signed by many of Scotland’s best known writers and publishers, including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith.

Latest news from this campaign

PEN International Congress: Reclaiming Truth In Times of Propaganda

Scottish PEN president, Carl MacDougall shares his thoughts from PEN International’s Congress held in Lviv, Ukraine

October 31, 2017

Scottish PEN Statement on the Killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Our statement on the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta

October 18, 2017

A poem from Liu Xiaobo to Liu Xia in 1997

A poem written by the late Liu Xiaobo, a poet, critic and Nobel Prize laureate who campaigned for democratic reform in China, to his wife Liu Xia, also a poet, whose situation in China continues to be precarious.

September 8, 2017

In Other Words – Our Journey to Lillehammer

Following the PEN International and ICORN conference in Lillehammer, Scottish PEN board member, Jane Archer shares her thoughts on the profound and necessary gathering to defend free expression

July 21, 2017