PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Program

Posted: September 18, 2007 in Writing Competition

Throughout the half century of The Literary Review’s existence as a journal devoted to writing from throughout the world, we have published the work of suppressed, imprisoned, and even assassinated authors. That is why we support the PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Program and encourage our readers to support its efforts by participating in its campaigns.
The Program works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled. It defends writers and journalists from all over the world who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted, or attacked in the course of carrying out their profession. In the U.S. it protests book-bannings in schools and counters legal challenges to the First Amendment.

In each of our quarterly issues we will feature the case of a writer selected by PEN and ask our readers to write letters in that writer’s behalf. Our website will also provide that information and announce alerts issued by the Freedom to Write Rapid Action Network.

With this issue, we request that you support the case of Ven Ngawang Phulchung, senior monk from Drepung monastery near Lhasa. He has also been singled out as the leader of the Drepung printing group, which secretly produced literature critical of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in early 1988. The publications of the group included a Tibetan translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the first Tibetan political manifesto, “The Meaning of the Precious Democratic Constitution of Tibet,” which called for a democratic system based on Buddhist tradition. The group also produced pro-independence leaflets that were designed to be stuck on walls in Lhasa. One describes how Tibetans were shot dead by police in pro-independence demonstrations and is considered unusual in that it presents a sober account of the event rather than exaggerating the details for propaganda purposes.

For more information, go to

Please continue to support the case of Cuban writer and independent journalist Normando Hernández González by writing to the Cuban authorities expressing alarm at reports of his deteriorating health; urging the Cuban authorities to provide as a matter of urgency all necessary medical attention to Normando Hernández González; and requesting the immediate release of all writers and journalists held in Cuban prisons in violation of their right to freedom of expression as recognized in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To access Normando Hernández González’s page, go to

Download sample appeal

To access the Program’s web site, go to
To access the Rapid Action Network, go to


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