The Writers for Peace Committee explores the connection between writing and conflict and what the written word can do to build peace around the world.
Wherever there is conflict, upheaval and division, there is writing. Writers, whether they are journalists, novelists, poets or playwrights, help make sense of the world, challenge propaganda and encourage us to examine our actions as we do those of others. In a world mired in complexity and seemingly unending conflict, it is the clear, precise and poignant words of writers that help us navigate, form bonds with others and share our ideas to the world.
The Scottish PEN Writers for Peace Committee was reconstituted in 2018 to encourage debates on the role of writing to build peace and oppose conflict, at home and in other countries and to promote new writing on that topic. Over the last year, the committee has taken ‘Place and Peace’ as its banner, to explore the relationship between place, peace, identity and conflict in Scotland, the UK and Ireland, as well as the connection or tension between culture and borders in and beyond the UK.
Throughout the Brexit process, this has taken on added significance. To build conversation on these topics, the committee has run readings across Scotland and built partnerships with organisations including the Scottish Writers Centre, the Tron Theatre and the Wigtown Book Festival.
Chaired by novelist and non-fiction writer David Manderson, the committee consists of himself, musician and poet Colin Donati and poet Ruth Aylett.
Writers for Peace has run sold out performances and readings at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, the Tron Theatre and the Wigtown Book Festival. Other readings have been held at locations including the Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh.
Readers at these events to date include Rebecca Sharp, Jenni Calder, Colin Donati and Robin Mason, Ruth Aylett, Emma Doherty, David Manderson, Donal McLaughlin, Bernard MacLaverty, Ciara MacLaverty, Tracy Patrick, Graham Fulton and Nalini Paul.
Here are a few photos from Writers for Peace Committee events from across Scotland.
The plan is to grow the committee’s activities so that Writers for Peace becomes part of the Scottish annual cultural programme and through the International PEN network join similar debates across the world. If you are a Scottish PEN member and would like to join the committee or have an idea for an event or topic for the committee, please email Committee Chair, David Manderson on firstname.lastname@example.org