Slovene PEN Centre
Austria Kapfenberg Spielraum
A presentation of the 33rd issue of Reibeisen, featuring 15 authors from Mira, the women’s section of the Slovene PEN Centre, with readings by Karin Cvetko-Vah, Miriam Drev, Meta Kušar, Tatjana Pregl-Kobe and Barbara Simoniti, supported by the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA), Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Vienna,
Upon its founding in 1926, its first president was the poet Oton Župančič. The centre was inactive during World War II, and re-established in 1962, with Matej Bor as its president.
Before World War II, the Slovene PEN successfully defended persecuted writers and was among the initiators of the first international accusation of fascism and nazism. In the post-war period, it continued defending writers who had problems with the regime. One of the important events was the 33rd World Congress held at Bled in 1965 in which Russian writers were present as observers for the first time. Since 1967, the centre has established its role as a meeting point of the East and the West by organising international annual meetings.
Since 1962, the presidents of Slovene PEN have been: Matej Bor, Mira Mihelič (later also Vice-President of International PEN), Filip Kumbatovič-Kalan, Miloš Mikeln, Drago Jančar, Boris A. Novak (since 2002 Vice-President of International PEN), Marko Kravos, Veno Taufer, Marjan Strojan and Anton Peršak. The actual President is Tanja Tuma.
PEN stands for Poets-Essayists-Novelists. International PEN exists to promote friendship and goodwill among writers everywhere, regardless of their nationality, race, colour, religion, political or other views, to fight for freedom of expression and to defend writers suffering under oppressive regimes. International PEN is a non-government organisation currently represented in 145 countries throughout the world.
The Slovene PEN Centre is part of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), an association of cities around the world dedicated to the value of Freedom of Expression. By providing a Guest Writer with a safe place to stay and economic security for a standard term of two years, ICORN cities make an important, practical contribution to the promotion of Freedom of Expression.
Writers for Peace Committee
The Writers for Peace Committee is one of the four committees of International PEN. Based at the Slovene PEN Centre, it was founded in 1984 at the initiative of Miloš Mikeln. Later, its chair was Boris A. Novak, followed by Veno Taufer, Edvard Kovač and Anton Peršak. Nowadays, it is a co-organiser of the international Bled conference in which it holds its annual meeting and organises a round table discussion on questions concerning peace, intercultural dialogue and freedom of expression. The Writers for Peace Committee includes around 40 PEN centres.