Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Home, Migration and Free Movement: Refugee Tales and English PEN

9 June @ 17:00 - 17:45 BST

Exploring ideas of home, migration, the free movement of people and languages, alongside PEN’s work with young refugee writers. Join us for an in-conversation event with Neel Mukherjee, David Herd and Ishiaba Kasonga who will open the event with a short reading, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Hannah Trevarthen of English PEN.

 The panel discussion will cover:

  • Writing experiences of detention
  • Solidarity, and why writers use their voice to speak out for those in detention
  • The relationships between writing and human rights – and why writing is a right
  • The Refugee Tales Walk, and who the Canterbury pilgrimage have resonances with experiences of migration today
  • Writing and action – what writers and readers can do to call for an end to detention.

A partnership event between Society of Authors, Refugee Tales and English PEN – part of the SoA @ Home Festival.

English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries. We are also a founding member of the Free Word Centre. They campaign to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.

Refugee Tales is an outreach project of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group inspired by the experiences of men held in immigration detention at Gatwick and the work of the Group in more than 20 years of visiting.

The line-up

David Herd, Refugee Tales
David Herd’s collections of poetry include All Just (Carcanet, 2012), Through (Carcanet, 2016) and Songs from the Language of a Declaration (Periplum, 2019). He is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Kent and co-editor of Refugee Tales.

Ishiaba Kasonga, Refugee Tales
Kasonga joined the GDWG and Refugee Tales team in February 2020. He has both a refugee background and lived experience of immigration detention in the UK. He has been a senior member of the experts-by-experience group called Freed Voices since 2016. He is also a member of Detention Action Management Committee. He believes that people with lived experience should play a central part in the debate around immigration detention; and the public must be well informed about human right abuses related to indefinite immigration detention in the UK.

Neel Mukherjee, author
Neel Mukherjee is the author of A Life Apart (2010), The Lives of Others (2014), A State of Freedom (2017), and, most recently, Avian for the Cahiers Series. He divides his time between London and the USA.

Hannah Trevarthen, Events and Development Manager, English PEN
Hannah joined English PEN in January 2015. Previously, she worked for four years as Assistant Programmer at Edinburgh International Book Festival. She manages PEN’s year round programme of high-profile events. Hannah has an MA in Cultural Policy and Management from Sheffield Hallam University.


9 June
17:00 - 17:45 BST
Event Category:
Event Tags:


SoA Events