international PEN congress 2011


Belgrade, September 12-18th, 2011

“Literature – Language of the World”

The 77th International PEN Congress will take place in Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia, in September 2011. The main topic of this year’s Congress is “Literature – Language of the World”.

International PEN is the world’s largest federation of writers, translators, editors and publishers. The global annual congress is the most important public event on International PEN’s agenda each year.

The decision to hold the forthcoming International PEN Congress in Belgrade is a huge recognition of Serbian PEN Center’s work so far. This first-class literary, cultural, social and public gathering will bring along further international respect and recognition of Belgrade and Serbia, of its culture and literature. This is the first ever International PEN Congress to be held in Serbia – and this is happening in a year which is very important to us, for two reasons: not only does International PEN celebrate its 90th birthday in 2011, but the Serbian PEN Center also marks its 85th anniversary. By becoming the International PEN Congress host, Belgrade will have an important chance to bring together some of the most important authors in contemporary world literature, and present them with “the best of Serbian culture”.
The Congress will, over several days, accommodate representatives of all 144 PEN Centers around the world. In total, more than 300 writers, publishers, translators and editors will visit the Serbian capital in September this year; most of these people are world-famous authors of contemporary literature, whose books have been translated into some of the most important languages of the world and published globally.

The Serbian PEN Center will, during the Congress, organize The World Literary Festival Free the Word. We believe this will be a huge literary and cultural event - not only in Serbia, but also in the whole of the Balkans region.

At the same time, a grand literary festival will take place in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and other cities around Serbia - the biggest event so far of its kind to ever be held in our country. Many of the world’s leading contemporary writers will participate in the festival, of whom many have already won some of the most prestigious literary awards on the planet.

The International PEN Congress is, needless to say, a very special moment for the Serbian PEN Center. We recognize its importance, and see it as an uniquie opportunity to promote International PEN’s core values and spread its influence even further in this part of Europe. We want to prove - once more - that Literature is the most authentic and most integral Language of the World.