English PEN

Let’s break Havana’s hold over us

The island of Cuba is like a Rorschach test for liberal opinion. For some, it represents hope followed by disappointment, a brave revolution which has hardened into insular authoritarianism, the music of heroic youth giving over time to the drone of three-hour speeches made my old men determined to hold on to power by whatever […]

A day in prison

This week I spent a day  in prison, thanks to the good offices of the writers’ organization, English PEN.  I was part of an ongoing programme aimed to get  prisoners talking about their own writing and reading with professional authors. In a sense, the conversations I had with the men of  HMP Downview and, in […]

These reporters risking their lives deserve our respect

As a headline, “Journalist murdered in Mexico” is unlikely to set the pulse racing. Even a subhead reading “Government and police not particularly interested” would have most of us wearily turning to the home page for the latest news from Celebrity Big Brother. Extraordinarily, we are living in an age in which censorship through murder […]