Finnish PEN is an international association of writers promoting freedom of expression founded in 1928. It is part of PEN International, which operates in over 100 countries, and according to its charter aims to defend and promote literature, freedom of expression and understanding between nations around the globe. PEN strives to have an effect on governments, other officials and public opinion everywhere in the world to fulfil the organization’s ideals.
Finnish PEN follows the state of freedom of expression, organizes discussions and literary events around the country, publishes statements and other writings and campaigns for its Honorary Members and other writers at risk. Finnish PEN participates in the annual PEN International congress and other international meetings by the organization. Finnish PEN co-works with different PEN centres, most closely with PEN centres in Nordic countries and Estonian PEN. Finnish PEN’s Freedom of Expression Award has been given out since 2012 to an individual or organization for distinguished work in promoting freedom of expression.
Finnish PEN has four committees dealing with different kind of freedom of expression issues: Writers at Risk Committee, Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, Womens’ Committee and Peace Committee. All these have their roots in the work of PEN International. In the Spring 2017 Finnish PEN founded a brand new Committee for Non-fiction Writers and Reseachers to support their freedom of expression and unhampered transmission of thought.
In the article picture above Sirpa Kähkönen, the president of Finnish PEN, helds the opening speech of the protest for Boris Nemtsov in February 2015. On the right, the former president of Finnish PEN & PEN International Treasurer Jarkko Tontti. Photo by J.P. Pulkkinen.