Meetings and Themes

Meetings and Themes


01        09 - 12 May 1968                   The unifying values of antagonisms

02        10 - 12 May 1969                   Art - a beginning or the end?

03        09 - 11 May 1970                   Deus in machina - Deus ex machina

04        07 - 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


05        12 - 15 May 1972                   Literature as information

                                                           a) Literature from the trivial to the hermetic

                                                           b) Literature from national to international


06        15 - 19 May 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


07        01 - 05 October 1974             The writer caught in the contradictions

                                                           of modern civilisation

                                                           a) The territory of humanism and the use of terrorism

                                                           in the contemporary world

                                                           b) The young generations between apathy and revolt


08        07 - 11 May 1975                   Contemporary prose

                                                           a) The novel

                                                           b) The short - story

                                                           c) The essay


09        26 - 30 May 1976                   Perception and creation in literature

                                                           a) Hermetic literature

                                                           b) The writer advancing an ideology or merely recording                                                   events



10        11 - 15 May 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


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

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


12        08 - 13 May 1979                   Literature as an instrument of new universalism

                                                           Literature as a bridge between peoples


13        06 - 11 May 1980                   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


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

                                                           a) External hindrances

                                                           b) Self - censorship

                                                           c) Writer's block


15        12 - 16 May 1982                   Literature - idea - ideology

                                                           a) Literature as a struggle

                                                           b) Literature as a game

                                                           c) Literature as an adventure


16        16 - 20 May 1983                   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?


17        04 - 08 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..."

                                                           b) Social structure

                                                           "In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible                                                  on a basis of poverty and ignorance."

                                                           c) 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."


18        08 - 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


19        07 - 11 May 1986                   The cultural identity of small nations ...

                                                           a) under contemporary pressure of ideologies and great


                                                           b) in the grip of systems and means of communication

                                                           c) in the space of Central Europe


20        06 - 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


21        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?


22        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


23        15 - 19 May 1990                   Fear today

24        14 - 18 May 1991                   Nations - nationalisms - writers

25        26 - 30 May 1992                   Pen and sword

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

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

28        30 May - 3 June 1995            Fascism past and present

The role of writers and literature today


29        21 - 25 May 1996                   Antigone today

 Si vis pacem ...


30        21 - 25 May 1997                   "Esprits maudits"

Pen at a crossroads: after the cold war do we face a 

confrontation of civilisations, religions, cultures ...

War as a video game


31        20 - 24 May 1998                   Laughter at the end of the millennium

Cassandra today ''''''''


32        19 - 23 May 1999                   National literatures and the process of globalisation

                                                           The Balkans: the role of writers for the promotion of

                                                           the culture of peace


33        03 - 07 May 2000                   The language of literature from the earth to new


                                                           Universal human rights under pressure of new world



34        23 - 27 May 2001                   Literature as the Eros of the new era

                                                           Human rights and the writer's mission


35        15 - 19 May 2002                   What is left to us of the 20th century?

                                                           The writer's responsibility


36        21 - 25 May 2003                   Oh, The Brave New World (after Huxley)

                                                           An eye for an eye and the entire world will be blind


37        26 - 30 May 2004                   European culture or European cultures

                                                           Peace: a lucky or an unlucky compromise


Bled    14 - 21 June 2005                  World Congress of International PEN


                                                           The Tower of Babel - a blessing or a curse?

                                                           Literature as a safeguard of the cultural landscape

                                                           The language of peace - Literature as lingua franca


38        28 March - 02 April 2006      Globalisation of the world - Marginalisation of


                                                           The Role of PEN in the contemporary world

                                                           Freedom of expression as a means against terrorism


39        28 March - 01 April 2007      Languages under threat - Dying cultures

                                                           Reading as a social event

                                                           Post - totalitarian resistance


40        26 - 30 March 2008                What is the European consciousness?

                                                           a) Philosophical and sociological aspects

                                                           b) Literary, cultural and civilisational aspects

                                                           c) An ethical attitude to history as a source of peace


41        25 - 29 March 2009                The age of liberation

                                                           The role of culture and public media in the processes

                                                           of liberation

                                                           Images of womanhood in literature as a path of peace


42        24 - 28 March 2010                Globalisation: an opportunity for all or a new

                                                           colonisation for many

                                                           Literature and Globalisation

                                                           Peace between diurnal and nocturnal dreams


43        04 - 08 May 2011                   Biblio-diversity and the future of writing

                                                           Freedom of expression: overt and covert censorship

                                                           The Image of a stranger in literature as a route to                                                                peace


44        16 - 20 May 2012                   Transformation – new paths or the decline of western

                                                           rational civilization

                                                           Perennial modernity

                                                           Sharing with others, a path to peace


45        08 - 12 May 2013                   Literary creation: from the periphery to the centre

                                                           The writer as a traveller creating peace facing the

                                                           challenges of the new media

                                                           The role of PEN today and in the future (discussion)

                                                           Digital freedom, peace and conflict - PEN declaration

                                                           on digital freedom (workshop)


46        07 - 10 May 2014                   "A Farewell to arms?"  The First World War in                                                                   literature

                                                           "Do we live in war or in peace?" Cultural and political

                                                           consequences of the Great War


47        06 - 09 May 2015                   The writer in a society reduced to its public sphere

                                                           Visible and invisible wars


48        05 - 08 May 2016                   The treasure of the other

                                                           Stupidity as the foundation of civilisation

                                                           We are all migrants – terrorism everywhere


49        10 - 13 May 2017                   Is hate speech a declaration of war

                                                           Landscapes of chaos

                                                           War and Peace


50        18 - 21 April 2018                  Wall, fence, border

                                                           Literature as the right to dream