Film Fest Post: UEL English PEN Presents…

As part of our Freshers’ Film Festival, we are working in conjunction with different societies to screen films close to their hearts. Tonight, come watch A Short Film Collection with UEL English PEN. Expect free speech, human rights, good conversation and perhaps a glass of wine or two. But first, read a little about them here.

The University of East London’s English PEN Group is a student-led subgroup of English PEN. Founded in May 2013 by four Creative & Professional Writing students, UEL English PEN works to support writer’s human rights and to promote free speech.  We run letter writing campaigns, have readathons, run workshops and hold Open Mic nights. We also have fun together too!

We are looking for committee members from all academic backgrounds and years – all you need is an interest in freedom of expression and human rights, and a willingness to get involved and be passionate. Email us here if you’re interested – we’d love to hear from you. We’ll also have a stall on the Fresher’s fair, from Monday 16th – Friday 20th September – so drop by to say hi, and see our selection of short films on writers rights around the world! And follow us online too, on FacebookTwitter and our blog.

Tonight, we’ll be screening a selection of short films from English PEN. Expect human rights, good conversation and perhaps a glass of wine or two.  Come find us at EB.G.06 from 4.00pm – 6.30pm. We look forward to meeting you! 

Throughout the year, we’ll be holding these kinds of events and activities, plus more:

  • Empty Chair Evenings and Open Mic Nights Someone sits in a chair and reads out the banned work of a foreign writer, in order to release their words into the world.  We’ll also hold nights where students and staff are welcome to read out their work as part of our Open Mic nights.
  • Letter Writing Workshops and Meet-Ups We all write to writers who have been incarcerated, imprisoned, or put under house arrest for their work, expressing our support for them and appreciation of their work, in order to boost morale.
  • Petitioning Parliament for changes to laws in the UK and abroad with regards to free speech, libel laws and human rights.
  • Work alongside the UK’s other student PEN groups, to increase exposure of issues and the work we’re doing, as well as creating a UK-wide support network for our societies.
  • Book sales and raffles in which we raise money for PEN using books that have been donated to us (so far, we have around 300!)
  • Championing the work that English PEN does with prisoners and refugees, and within their translation programme, which enables obscure works from all over the world to become available to as wide a platform of readers and thinkers as possible.

If this all sounds like your sorta thing, hit us up. We’d love to have you on board.


Lastly, over the summer we successfully reached our £250 target for the crowdfunded readathon we took part in, which is funding our launch event. This will be in October 2013, for date and venue follow our blog updates, plus for news and more. We read 60 books between the four of us in 8 weeks – from June till August. That was, on average, two books a week each. Please find out more here on our Crowdfunder page.

For more information and tickets to our event, please visit our blog.

Supported and endorsed by English PEN.


Founded in 1921, and now one of the oldest human rights groups still in existence, English PEN has attracted some of the greatest writers across the 20th and 21st centuries in their campaign for free expression. They work within prisons, on translation programmes, alongside refugees and soldiers and with young people, too. PEN International has 145 centres globally and campaigns to defend writers and readers all around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.

– Guest Contributor, Sam from UEL English PEN Group

English PEN


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