Thursday, 28 November 2013


In November 2003 in Mexico City the World Congress of PEN International – the oldest international association of writers, founded in London in 1921 – accepted the new PEN Trieste Centre. The request of a group of writers of Trieste, supported by the Associations Altamarea, Trieste ArteCultura and Gruppo/Skupina 85 was approved in function of the multicultural, multilingual and multi-ethnical tradition of our city.

The Trieste PEN Centre, having as Presidents Juan Octavio Prenz and Claudio H. Martelli, did organize during these first ten years some international conferences in order to discuss about the freedom of cultural expressions and about the relationships between the North and the South of our world.

There have been also meetings with Italian and foreign writers, the promotion of publications with translations, the literary monographs in cooperation with the Centres of Slovenia and Croatia, working towards cross-border cooperation.

The current President of the Trieste PEN Centre, Antonio Della Rocca, belongs since 2012 to the Board of PEN International.

To celebrate our Decennial, the Trieste PEN Centre has organized two meetings, in cooperation with the Province and the Municipality of Trieste.

On November 4th we presented the Anthology of the Decennial, with contributions of our Members and that will be the ”number zero” of a new line of a new book’s collection dedicated to the Members, “I LIBRI DEL PEN TRIESTE”.

Presentation of the Antogia del Decennale, front desk (from the left, Patrizia Vascotto, Secretary General, Antonio Della Rocca, President, Juan Octavio Prenz, Past President, Rina Anna Rusconi,Vice President)

 IL PICCOLO, Trieste, November 20th, 2013

On November 22nd we held an international Conference on the themes of freedom of expression and of activity of the Writers for Peace Committee, during which we presented a Brochure “2003 – 2013  10 ANNI DI ATTIVITÀ” conceived as a promotional device, informing about PEN International and PEN Trieste, as well as a detailed report about the activities of our Centre.

The presentations of Antonio Della Rocca, President of PEN Trieste, of John Ralston Saul, International President, of Juan Octavio Prenz, Past President of PEN Trieste and a memory of the late Past President Claudio H. Martelli are translated from and into the official languages of PEN International, the Brochure being in Italian.

Both publications are meant to be distributed to Libraries and High Schools. The Brochure is available on request in .pdf format.

Several Centres took part to the Conference (Austria, Croatia and Slovenia whereas the Italian PEN and the Swiss Italian PEN could not attend for specific reasons).

Philo Ikonya – former President of PEN Kenya and former Member of the Board) spoke about freedom of expression and of her personal experience as a refugee in Norway, having been harassed and imprisoned in her own country.

Tone Peršak – former President of PEN Slovenia and recently elected Chair of the Writers for Peace Commitee, spoke about the history of the Committee and about the Manifesto of Bled.

Conference: Sanja Rojc (PEN Croatia), Antonella Grimm (Municipality of Trieste), Antonio Della Rocca

Conference: Marko Kravos (PEN Slovenia), Tone Persak, speaker (PEN Slovenia), Juan Octavio Prenz

Conference: Marjan Strojan (PEN Slovenia)

Conference: Philo Ikonya, speaker (PEN Kenya)

Conference: Helmuth Niederle (PEN Austria)

At the end of these celebrations, we can state that we are reasonably satisfied of the work done during these first ten years, but that we are aware that it is only a first step towards our future.

There is a lot of work to be done, and we need new forces to develop our ideas as well as to contribute further to the cause of PEN International in the fields of promotion of literature and defence of freedom of expression.

We will concentrate our efforts in  attracting these new forces – young writers and poets – who can help us to achieve this ambitious aim.

Conference: Antonio Della Rocca, final conclusions.

(photos by Massimiliano Cocozza)