The 1st meeting for the establishment of a branch of PEN International in Greece was successfully held on Monday, September 16, 2019.
Dina Sarakinou Pen meeting Monday 16th September 2019
Good evening, Dear friends and associates. I am very pleased that you have responded positively to our invitation. I am thrilled that with us today, is Mrs. Kätlin Kaldmaa from the World Writers’ Association, Pen International, founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and spiritual collaboration between writers everywhere.
I will briefly tell you how the initiative to set up a PEN Center in Greece begun.
Last March, the online magazine Literature.gr in collaboration with the Athens 2018: World Book Capital organized an one day conference attended by Hellenists and translators in order to explore the obstacles facing the spread of Greek Literature abroad. After that we tried not to give up on the project and proceeded to record the global situation on publishers and media and agents who work in Literature Field Globally. Talking to Mr. Christos Economou about the different countries and Greek translations, he mentioned to me the global association of writers Pen International and we talked about the possibility of establishing a Pen center in Greece.
I considered the creation of a Greek Pen Center a very important development for the Greek literary community, I contacted PEN International headquarters in London and I informed my close colleagues about this prospect.
I informed Erifili Maroniti, Dimitris Sotakis, Tessi Baila, Lina Pantaleon, Alexis Stamatis, and Christos Economou.
At this point, I would like to make it clear that the Pen Center that I hope it will be established and I aspire to be staffed from personalities from the book world in general, publishers, writers, poets, librarians, bloggers, scholars and literary critics, is not an invitation from Literature.gr, it is an initiative of individuals and as individuals we will become members of it.
The role of Pen International and its action will be presented by Ms. Kätlin Kaldmaa. Personally, I would like to emphasize that in addition to its key action in the campaigns for freedom of expression and the protection of the rights of the writers of the planet, a particularly important project of it is that it promotes national literature among the various pen centers, holds literary prizes, plays an advisory role to government agencies and all through lots by its universal power. I believe that the creation of an official Pen center in Greece will have multiple benefits for the literary community starting from the primary benefit of visibility, and will act as a tool of interconnection among all concerned.
Dimitris Sotakis – Pen meeting Monday 16th September 2019
Without literature, there can be no real freedom of expression. Without freedom of expression, there can be no real literature, members of the Pen advocate, and we agree to that.
Pen unites the writers and the world of the book in general and like any association of people of spirit and art, it acts as a positive catalyst for creative action.
Pen International by the term ‘author’ embraces novelists, poets, journalists, academics, publishers, bloggers, biographers, translators, in short, refers to those who deal with written or oral speech, and this biodiversity drives evolution, which can also be achieved through this global union. Pen values are accepted by every democratic person who respects himself and his fellow man.
As a writer already translated, I have been fortunate to be travelling abroad invited to attend various events. Pen Centers are in most countries of the world and I am pleased that today is taking place the first step to establish an official Pen Center in Greece.
It is important for a writer to be informed of Pen’s actions, to travel so to come in contact with foreign writers, to enrich his way of thinking, that he will put into words at some point and eventually escape our inner autism.
With a Pen Center active in Greece, it will emphasize the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture, create a strong voice for the rights of writers and let the people of Greece know that they can become members in a worldwide historical body of well-known writers, and people of the book.