About 30 people wrote 185 cards of support to 14 imprisoned writers at the first Sydney PEN letter writing event, hosted by the creators’ rights organisation Copyright Agency.
Sydney PEN, an affiliate of PEN International, is an association of Australian writers and readers, publishers and human rights activitists.
The recent release of Peter Greste and his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed from jail in Egypt was very welcome news, but many other writers remain imprisoned for their work.
People wrote to detainees in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan.
One of the detainees is 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu is an award-winning Chinese literary critic, writer, professor, and human rights activist who called for political reforms and the end of communist single-party rule. He was arrested in 2008 and is currently incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning, until 2020. He has lost several appeals and is being denied access to his legal team.
Renowned author and life member of Sydney PEN Rosie Scott spoke about the critical role all PEN offices play in defending freedom of expression.