Press Releases 2014-2015

Poet Menna Elfyn elected President of Wales PEN Cymru

12.12.2014

Menna Elfyn, poet, dramatist and Welsh language campaigner, was elected Wales PEN Cymru's President at the organisation's first AGM in Hay on Wye on Saturday.

Menna Elfyn, one of the most recognised Welsh writers on the international stage, travels the world reading her work and championing Welsh and other minority languages. She is the author of over 20 books and 18 in translation.  Professor Menna Elfyn, director of Creative Writing at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has inspired a generation of aspiring writers. Her bi-lingual collections of poetry have given access to Welsh literature to hundreds of Welsh learners.

Wales PEN Cymru was officially recognised as a PEN Centre at the 80th PEN International Congress in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, this autumn. PEN has been in existence for 93 years and now has more than 100 Centres all over the world. PEN International promotes access to literature and defends freedom of expression. It campaigns on behalf of writers around the world who are persecuted, imprisoned, harassed and attacked for what they have written.

Owen Sheers, English language Chair, said:  " We couldn't have a President better placed to put Welsh writers, working in both Welsh and English, at the heart of pressing global campaigns and to encourage them to engage in debate, at home and abroad, as social thinkers and campaigners as well as authors, editors and poets."

Sally Baker, Director, said " Menna Elfyn is the ideal figure-head for Wales PEN Cymru. Recognised both at home and abroad, she will be a champion for translation and linguistic rights, activities that are at the core of PEN activity. "

"I am honoured to be President of Wales PEN Cymru, " said Menna Elfyn. ‘Welsh-language writers have a long history of campaigning for their rights; and many have written about their experiences of oppression, censorship and imprisonment. There have been previous attempts  to establish a Welsh PEN, notably in the 1960s, but now the time is right for Welsh writers to engage with others to campaign for freedom of expression worldwide and to support those who are suffering linguistic repression".

To find out more about Wales PEN Cymru go to www.walespencymru.org  or email: walespencymru@gmail.com

Note to Editor

For further information please contact:

Sally Baker,     walespencymru@gmail.com 

Fflur Dafydd   fflurdafydd@gmail.com