Archive for May, 2012

Oxford Student PEN are delighted to announce the details of our official launch event, which is taking place Friday June 15th, from 3pm – 6pm, in Lecture Theater Two, English Faculty Building, Oxford. We have an amazing group of speakers lined up for what we are hoping will be an afternoon of engaged discussion and debate. And we are hoping for an audience that is willing to get stuck in debating – so please do join us. Plus, with a drinks reception afterwards, it will be a great opportunity to meet the speakers and committee members. Check out the program below:

Oxford Student PEN Official Launch,

Friday 15 June, 3pm – 6pm, Lecture Theatre Two, English Faculty, Oxford

Introduction and welcome from Oxford Student PEN committee
Panel discussion: Literature and Protest
Chair: Professor Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literatures at OxfordPanellists: Professor Peter McDonald, St Hugh’s College, Oxford; Dr Rachel Potter, UEA; James Currey, publisher; Ellie Mae O’Hagan, activist, writer, and commentator

Break for Tea and Coffee

Oxford Translation Showcase

Chair, Professor Patrick McGuinness, St Anne’s College

Oxford-based translators Jamie McKendrick and Ketaki Dyson will read from their work and discuss the art of translation with Ros Schwartz, chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee

Keynote Address: The Power of Campaigning: PEN’s Influence, Reach and Impact

From Heather Söderlind, Acting Director of English PEN

Drinks reception in the Senior Common Room from 6pm

Literature and Protest’
With the past two years having seen protest return to the centre of political activity throughout the world, from Tottenham to Tahrir Square, we propose that the Oxford PEN launch event could provide a forum for reflecting on the place of literature and freedom of expression within this new culture of digital media-based protest. How can we navigate between the demands of protest and the preservation of a public sphere in which all voices can be heard? How are new media and social networks affecting established literary genres such as the protest poem, the pamphlet and the manifesto, and what insights can literary historians and critics bring to the use of these forms? What is role is being played by the documentary functions of literary reportage, journalism and memoir in these protests, and how can works which explore these functions, such Gillian Slovo’s ‘The Riots’, be further developed and supported? And finally, what are the best ways of facilitating the crucial work of translators working to the demands of instant news cycles and across printed and digital media platforms? These are topics we hope our panellists will address and debate, both with each other, and with all in attendance at our Oxford PEN Launch event.


On the 27th of April the inaugural Oxford Student PEN Committee was elected at a meeting in the English Faculty building in Oxford, and we couldn’t think of a better way to launch our blog than by introducing them! So without further ado, here they are:

President – Rosie Lavan
Secretary – Kevin Brazil
Treasurer- Courtney Traub
IT and Communications Officer – Hannah Arnold
Undergraduate Officer – Edith Johnson
Asylum, Refugees and Migrants Officer – Dominic Davies
Translations Officer – Helena Taylor
Writers in Prison Campaign Officer – Asha Rogers
Media Monitoring Officer – April Pierce

We are already looking forward to the coming year of campaigning in Oxford and if there is anyone in particular you want to contact, just send us an email at