BLED 2019

Dear Colleagues,

We have a pleasure of inviting you to the 50th International PEN Meeting, organised jointly by the Slovene PEN Centre and the Writers for Peace Committee of the International PEN. The Meeting will take place from the 3rd to 6th of April, 2019 in Hotel PARK at Bled. It will include two round tables: Imagination and reality - writers' invitation for children and young adults (Slovene PEN Centre) and Notion of the other: path towards peace or war (WfPC).

             You are invited to prepare papers (up to 3 pages) on any of the two proposed themes and to participate in the discussions. The papers (in English, French or Slovene) should reach us before the 1st of February 2019. Attached you will find summaries meant to guide your responses to the issues of the themes.

             Other events include Bled before Bled (2nd of April) and literary festival Faces of Peace (4th of April) with readings in libraries and other venues in several towns. In order to organize these events participants are kindly asked to send us their texts (90 verses or 2 pages of prose) not later than by the 1st of February 2019 in the original language and in translation (English or French). Some participants may wish to join smaller teams visiting schools, talking about PEN, which is part of our Educational program.

            We are staging two major exhibitions: Hiroshima/Nagasaki at the Museum of contemporary history and documentary exhibition of portrets of participants of the 2018 Bled meeting. There will be a few opportunities to read literature in public.

             An optional excursion will be organised on Saturday, 6th of April. The excursion will include a journey by bus to Bohinj. Participants who will join the excursion should indicate this in the registration form so that we can make room reservations for an extra night (single room per person 83 EUR, sharing double room 54 EURO per person). The excursion, lunch and dinner will be free of charge.

             The conference fee for delegates, participants and accompanying guests is 450 EUR (single room) or 350 EUR (sharing double room). The fee covers conference material, social events, transfer to the hotel from Ljubljana airport or Bled-Lesce railway station, and hotel accommodation (three nights, 3rd, 4th and 5thth of April). Travel expenses, extra nights, drinks are not included. Extra nights are are going to be charged at reduced prize (around 85 EUR for single room, 55 EUR for double, depending also on having a room with a view on the lake or not).

              We kindly ask you to return the registration form fully completed before 1st of February 2019 - More information by e-mail

             If you need a visa, you should let us know as soon as possible, so that we can send you a guarantee letter.

            The official languages of the conference will be English, French and Slovene. Interpretation for the round table and public events will be provided for.

            Looking forward to your response we wish you all the best.

Yours sincerely,

Ifigenija Simonović                                                               Marjan Strojan

President of the Slovene PEN Centre                                  Chair of WfPC PEN International



Round table of the Writers for Peace Committee

Representation of the other: Path towards peace or war

A philosopher Immanuel Kant said that without experience of the outer world and peoples our perception is replaced by imagination. Reason by itself can not operate in "void"; it needs to lean on personal experience and on imagined conception of the reality.

But we are in trouble because we don't always have experience with other people, especially with strangers and foreigners. Our knowledge about them is limited and to enrich it we need the power of imagination. But how I perceive others is not something without any consequence. If I think of someone as being "wild", "greedy" or "violent", my rational defence mechanism will be alerted and it will eventually direct me towards xenophobia, nationalism and provoke similarly traumatic reactions. On the other hand, if my imagination is fed by human warmth, compassion for the other and if I accept her or his cultural richness, which could ennoble me, then my rational approach to this person is going to be different and it would gradually direct me towards dialog and symbioses.

Now we came to the question: to what degree can writer's work form a positive and realistic notion of the other, which could influence the reader to choose the culture of peaceful coexistence.


Round table of the Slovene PEN Centre

Imagination and reality - inviting young readers to literature

Literature or the lack of it plays a crucial role in the lives of children and young adults. We are not thinking of educational literature or of literature which promotes ideologies. We are thinking of literature, which inspires and gives courage for facing everyday struggle. Literature can offer a model of goodness. By the possibility of identification it can stimulate the passion for thinking. To understand oneself, to get to know and understand the other is the first step towards tolerance, friendship and peace. In the times of pushing books aside, in the times of instant access to information, in the times of disappearance of many languages and in the times of stronger and stronger influence of English language on all levels of life writers have an enormous task: they have to write for those, who have to first learn to read and write, then learn to love literature and finally learn how to make their own thoughts known to the others.