Julian Burnside To Mark International Day Of The Imprisoned Writer

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27th October 2010, 06:41pm - Views: 1143


Management Committee 

Writers Advisory Panel

Bonny Cassidy

Vice Presidents

Michael Fraser AM

Sandy Symons 


Peter Eichhorn


Simeon Beckett

Debra Adelaide

Carol Dettmann

Gail Jones

Christopher Michaelsen

Susie Eisenhuth

Geraldine Brooks

J.M. Coetzee

Tim Flannery

Helen Garner

Kate Grenville

Tom Keneally AO

Frank Moorhouse AM

David Malouf AO

John Tranter

David Williamson AO

freedom to write…

freedom to read

International PEN Sydney Centre Inc.

ABN: 51 796 241 535  

Trading as: 

Sydney PEN & International PEN Australian Centre

5 Blackfriars St, Chippendale NSW 2008

t: 1300 364 997  f: 02 9319 0141

Media release

27 October 2010


Sydney PEN will mark the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer with a lecture by Julian

Burnside AO QC on how the freedom to write and read has changed in recent times.

Burnside will discuss whether or not the instances of threatened, detained or imprisoned writers

have improved internationally over the last 50 years.

Sydney PEN President Dr Bonny Cassidy said he would focus on what these changes have to

do with Australia.  

“Burnside will use the 50th Anniversary of the PEN International Writers in Prison program as a

starting point for exploring what freedom of expression means in Australia and our region,” she


Burnside is a Melbourne-based barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and author. He

has spoken out against the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and has provided legal

counsel in a wide array of high-profile cases.

“He will bring his experience as a human rights advocate and of course as a writer to look at how

the reality and our perception of freedom of expression have developed.”

Dr Cassidy said Sydney PEN was holding activities around the country through the week of

November 15th, culminating in the Burnside special Sydney event on November 19th.

“A dozen state libraries, universities and other institutions around Australia are taking part in

Sydney PEN’s postcard campaign for five writers currently imprisoned in regions of China,” she


“The public will find booths at these venues where the postcards created by Sydney PEN can be

signed and dropped, to be sent by PEN to each writer in late November.

Participating partners are: UTS Library and University of Wollongong Library (25th October- 19th

November); State Library of New South Wales, State Library of South Australia, State Library of

Tasmania-Rosny LINC Branch, Customs House Library, Glebe Library, Haymarket Library,

Ultimo Library, Newtown Library, Surry Hill Library, Kings Cross Library (15th- 19th November);

and Stanton Library (19th November).

Burnside will join Dr Kath Gelber (UQ) and Dr Ben Saul (Sydney Law School) for a panel

discussion after his address. The panel, to be chaired by Dr Christopher Michaelsen, chair of

Sydney PEN’s Writers in Prison program and Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at UNSW,  

will consider Burnside’s views alongside the thoughts of his peers in human rights and

international law. 

This event will be held on November 19th at 6.00 for 6.30pm in the Dixson Room at the State

Library of New South Wales.   For bookings contact (02) 9273 1770 or bookings@sl.nsw.gov.au.

Julian Burnside, Kath Gelber and Ben Saul are available to comment on their involvement.

Sydney PEN media contact: 

Bonny Cassidy

0417 252 004

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