Former meetings

Meetings and Themes


1st    9-12May 1968        The unifying value of antagonisms

2nd    10-12 May 1969    Art – a beginning or the end?

3rd    9-11 May 1970    Deus in machina – Deus ex machina

4th    7-12 May 1971    Why do we write? (International PEN Conference)

a)    Creative writing as subjective expression or as a
       means of moral and social action    
b)    Writing as negation of death and oblivion       
       Permanence as a criterion of evaluation        
c)    Literature as a substitute for religion or a system of morals
d)    Creative writing as a means of achieving human contact across time and space

5th     12-15 May 1972    Literature as information

a)   Literature from the trivial to the hermetic
b)    Literature from national to international

6th     15-19May 1973    What do we want?

a)    The writer and his readers
b)    Writing techniques
c)    The writer's means of expression: Mother tongue or several languages

7th    1-5 October 1974    The writer caught in the contradictions of modern civilisation

a) The therory of humanism and the use of terrorism in
    the contemporary world
b) The young generations between apathy and revolt

8th     7-11 May 1975    Contemporary prose

a)    The novel
b)    The short-story
c)    The essay

9th    26-30 May 1976     Perception and creation in literature

a)   Hermetic literature
b)    The writer advancing an ideology or merely recording events


10th        11-15May 1977    New alternatives

a)    The writer in a declining world
b)    The writer in a rising world
c)    The writer as a bridge between two worlds

11th     16-20 May 1978    Anguish of the contemporary world and literature

a)    Freedom, order, anarchy, violence
b)    Love, erotism, sex, pornography
c)    Formal perfection, challenge, nothing

12th     8-13 May 1979    

a) Literature as an instrument of new universalism
b) Literature as a bridge between peoples

13th     6-11 May 1980    The author between critique and the public
                        (International PEN conference)
a)    The critic and the best-seller
b)    Critique as creation
c)    The critic and cultural politics

14th    13-17 May 1981    Hindrances affecting a writer's work

a)    External hindrances
b)    Self-censorship
c)    Writer's block

15th     12-16 May 1982    Literature –idea - ideology

a)    Literature as a struggle
b)    Literature as a game
c)    Literature as an adventure

16th    16-20 May 1983    The reality of the world and artistic truth

a)    The manipulation of reality and art
b)    The construction of reality in art
c)    The public as a function of artistic truth?

17th     4-8 May 1984        The year of Orwell – 1984

a)    Historical memory
»Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct...«
a)    Social structure
»In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.«
b)    Man's intimate world
»I have not betrayed Julia,« he said. O'Brien looked down at him thoughtfully. »No«, he said,« no, that is perfectly true. You have not betrayed Julia.«

18th    8-12 May 1985    The hereditary enemy

a)    National, ethnic and racial hatred
b)    Social, class and ideological hatred
c)    Hatred of the foreign, of the different and of the marginal

19th     7-11 May 1986    The cultural identity of small nations...

a)    under contemporary pressure of ideologies and great numbers
b)    in the grip of systems and means of communication
c)    in the space of Central Europe

20th    6-10 May 1987    The truth of literature and the truth of history

a)    Literature and truth
b)    History as a lie of the ruling power and literature as a substitute for historiography
c)    Literature as a shaper of historical consciousness

21st     11-15 May 1988    To belong to a minority – to belong to the majority

a)    A minority: advantages and disadvantages
b)    Whence the hatred of the majority for minorities
c)    Writers: a spiritual minority?

22nd     16-20 May 1989    Overcoming the deficits of the past between East and West

a)    The native country and the exile
b)    Literature in exile
c)    Politics and literature in the East and in the West

23rd     15-19 May 1990    Fear to-day

24th     14-18 May 1991    Nations- nationalisms – writers

25th    26-30 May 1992    Pen and sword

26th    25-29 May 1993    Am I my brother's keeper?

27th     24-28 May 1994    Hate speech and the language of tolerance

28th     30May-3June 1995    

a)   Fascism past and present
b)    The role of writers and literature to-day

29th    21-25 May 1996    

a)  Antigona to-day
b)  Si vis pacem...

30th     21-25 May 1997    

a)  »Esprits maudits«
b) Pen at a crossroads: after the cold war do we face a
    confrontation of civilisations, religions, cultures...
c) War as a video game

31st    20-24 May 1998    

a)   Laugh at the end of the second millennium
b)   Cassandra to-day

32nd    19-23 May 1999    

a)  National literatures and the process of globalisation
b)    The Balkans: the role of writers for the promotion of
the culture of peace

33rd     3-7 May 2000        

a) The language of literature fom the earth to new horizons
b) Universal human rights under pressure of new world divisions

34th    23-27 May 2001    

a) Literature as the Eros of the New Era
b) Human rights and the Writer's Mission

35th    15-19 May 2002    

a) What is left to us of the 20th century?
b) The writer's responsibility

36th    21-26 May 2003    

a) Oh, The Brave New World (after Huxley)
c)  An Eye for an Eye and the Entire World will be

38th  29 March – 2 April

a)    Globalisation of the world – Marginalisation of literature
b)    The Role of PEN in the contemporary world
c)    Freedom of expression as a means against terrorism

39th  28 March – 1 April

a)    Languages under threat – Dying cultures
b)    Reading as a social event
c)    Post-totalitarian resistance

40th  26 – 30 March 2008

a) What is the European consciousness?
1)    Philosophical and sociological aspects
2)    Literary, cultural and civilisational aspects
b) An ethical attitude to history as a source of peace

41st  25 – 29 March 2009

a) The Age of liberation
b) The Role of culture and public media in the processes of liberation
c) Images of womanhood in literature as a path of peace

42nd  24 - 28 March 2010

a) Globalisation: an opportunity for all or a new colonisation for many
b) Literature and Globalisation
c) Peace between diurnal and nocturnal dreams

43rd   4 - 8  May 2011

a)    Bibliodiversity and the Future of Writing
b)    Freedom of Expression: overt and covert Censorship
c)    The Image of the Stranger in literature as a Route to Peace

44th  16 - 20 May 2012

a) Transformation – new paths or the decline of Western rational civilization
b) Perennial modernity
c) Sharing with others, a path to peace

45th  8 - 12 May 2013

a) Literary Creation: From the Periphery to the Centre
b) The Role of PEN Today and in the Future (Panneld discussion)
c) The Writer as a Traveller Creating Peace facing the Challenges of the New Media