PEN International 26:50
PEN International website banner
  • 2010: The unnamed writer
    [by Elise Valmorbida]

    Here is a mind
    caught in the elision
    between personal, political.

    Here is a nib
    charged with invisible ink
    that under iron heat
    turns blood-brown.

    Here is a silence.

    (Death happens in brackets)
    but still you can hear
    the bell of the voice,
    chiming, tolling,
    the scratching of the pen.

    In 2010, PEN International looked back at 50 emblematic cases illustrating where and how and why the Writers in Prison Committee worked. PEN centres around the world participated and reported on events, their own work and campaigns on current cases. And they looked to the future, to see how the WiPC must evolve and adapt to meet new challenges. Because writers must speak their minds.

    At 26 we paired each of the 50th anniversary writers with a writer from 26. The brief? To write 50 words, no more, no less, inspired by the life and work of the 50th anniversary writer. These 50 parcels of poetry, prose, meditation and agitation were posted online, day by day, through to the last day of Free the Word! festival in London on 18 April. 26:50 started on Saturday 27 February with 1960: Musine Kokalari. The project ended with an unnamed writer for 2010. 

    The 26:50 blog is here

    © 2017 Elise Valmorbida