• PEN protests the rise of anti-LGBTQ legislation

    News and Commentary
    Nick Patricca

    Nick Patricca

    by Nick Patricca

    At the 81st PEN World Congress this October in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, the delegates of the General Assembly of PEN International, the largest world-wide organization of professional writers, passed Resolution #20 protesting the anti-LGBTQI legislation enacted recently in 75 nation-states.

    The 250 delegates from 80 PEN Centers from 70 countries and regions of the world participated in this Congress. Resolution #20 received the support of all voting Centers. There were only three abstentions.

    The astonishingly rapid acceptance of ‘gay marriage’ and other LGBTQI rights in the U.S., Ireland, and other countries masks a most serious global backlash against LGBTQI people and their supporters.

    In her book Words Will Break Cement: the Passion of Pussy Riot ( Riverhead Books 2014 ), PEN member Masha Gessen documents how The Russian Federation restricts and punishes artistic freedom of expression for women and all other individuals and groups considered ‘anti-state.’ Continue Reading »

  • Sandra Cisneros looks back as a writer in search of home

    Sandra Cisneros looks back as a writer in search of home

    News and Commentary

    Sandra Cisneros, legendary author and San Miguel PEN member was interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on the PBS Newshour on October 29. She mentions her latest nesting place in San Miguel, since her new book, A House of My Own: Stories From My Life, is about her search for home.

    Asked about her best selling first novel, The House on Mango Street, she describes that book as her eldest child who goes out, gets a job and makes money to support the rest of the children.


    A House of My Own can be ordered on Amazon. It has been described as “poignant, honest, deeply moving, … an exuberant celebration of a life in writing lived to the fullest.”

    Sandra will have copies for sale and signing at her appearance on the stage of Bellas Artes, San Miguel on February 2nd in the 2016 San Miguel PEN series.

  • Rochelle Cashdan, an active member of PEN

    News and Commentary

    Rochelle Cashdan, an active member of PEN, died after heart surgery in Cleveland on the 22nd May.

    This is a passage from her son’s blog which you can read in its entirety here.

    ‘She moved to Guanajuato and used it as her home base the rest of her life. It’s a magical town set in a narrow valley, with the city climbing up the sides. Guanajuato is a global cultural center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with frequent concerts, visual arts exhibitions, dramas, and the largest annual performing arts festival in Latin America. Mom used her press credential as a writer for a local periodical and her blog, Mexiguana, to go to concerts, plays, and exhibits weekly. She got to see and sometimes even hang out with icons who passed through from John Cleese, to David Grossman, to Philip Glass.  Continue Reading »

  • Report on the 2015 PEN Americas Summit and PEN Pregunta

    Report on the 2015 PEN Americas Summit and PEN Pregunta

    News and Commentary

    The 2015 PEN Americas Summit took place in Mexico City from 21-26 February 2015 and included the public event PEN Pregunta.

    The Summit was attended by delegates from the three Mexican Centers (Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende and Guadalajara), PEN Guatemala, PEN Honduras, PEN Nicaragua, PEN Brazil, PEN Argentina, German PEN, Japanese PEN,  American PEN, Canadian PEN, and Mexican NGOs.

    The media covered the event and two articles appeared in Sin Embargo (the first one is here with its English translation in the Daily Kos, and you can read the second here) and another article was featured in La Jornada. Continue Reading »

  • Volunteering for San Miguel PEN

    Volunteering for San Miguel PEN

    News and Commentary

    A guest blog by Laura di Giuseppe, who volunteered for San Miguel PEN in January-February 2015.

    “I’ve always been fascinated by international literature and thought that if we only read literary works created in our own country we wouldn’t be able to understand foreign cultures.

    The importance of literature in translation and protecting minority languages brought me to PEN International, a global organisation which promotes freedom of expression worldwide.

    I’m Italian and I’ve been living in London for the past 10 years. In London I had the opportunity to graduate from a Master’s Degree in International Journalism. Surrounded by a group of international journalists coming from China, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, the US and more, I started to look into the issues of censorship, self-censorship and freedom of expression. The work I currently do for a publishing house fits with my idea of spreading the importance of literature and bringing books (in whichever format, from ebooks to audio and print) to the widest possible audience. Continue Reading »

  • Elizabeth Rosner talks in San Miguel

    News and Commentary

    Elizabeth Rosner gave a fascinating talk yesterday, February 3 in Bellas Artes auditorium as part of the PEN’s 2015 series.

    She spoke about her heritage and legacy as the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She mentioned how difficult it was for her parents – and in particular for her father – to accept that she wanted to become a writer and make a living out of telling stories. Here’s the video:

    Continue Reading »

  • San Miguel PEN presents Christine Wade

    San Miguel PEN presents Christine Wade

    News and Commentary

    Christine Wade spoke at the third PEN conference of 2015 on Jan 27th.

    Revolutions are fought, constitutions are crafted, countries are founded, and Christine’s fascinating talk tries to answer important questions: who wins? whose history do we remember and study today?

    Not ordinary folks, not women, not the indigenous, not the enslaved, not the poor. So how can we know the stories of those who don’t win?

    Drawing examples from American history and beyond, Christine Wade explains why these stories are important and how she managed to discover and research untold stories to write her book Seven Locks. Continue Reading »

  • It’s Midnight in Mexico with Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga

    News and Commentary

    Alfredo CochardoAlfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga were the protagonists of the second talk in the PEN series which took place on Jan 20th, 2015. You can listen to the full lecture here.

    Alfredo Corchado is the Mexican Bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, where he has worked for over 20 years. Earlier, he reported for various news organizations including the Wall Street Journal. He was a 2010 Woodrow Wilson Center scholar in Washington and a 2011 visiting fellow at David Rockefeller Center at Harvard.

    Corchado is best known for his non-fiction book, Midnight in Mexico. The book delves into the drug war and its intimidating and sometimes fatal impact on journalists. Continue Reading »

  • C.M. Mayo talks about Madero at the first PEN lecture of 2015

    News and Commentary

    On Jan 13th, C.M. Mayo inaugurated this year’s series of lectures organised by PEN International San Miguel Center. You can listen to the full talk here.

    C.M. Mayo

    C.M. Mayo talked about her new book called Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual (Dancing Chiva, 2014).

    The book includes Mayo’s translation of Madero’s Manual espírita, and is also available in Spanish, translated by noted Mexican novelist and poet Agustín Cadena as Odisea metafísica hacia la revolución Mexicana, (Literal Publishing, 2014), together with a transcript of the original Manual espírita. Continue Reading »

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