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Gillian Slovo becomes English PEN president

9th December 2010

South African-born author Gillian Slovo has been appointed as the new president of writers' charity English PEN.

The novelist, playwright and memoirist will become the 25th president of the organisation, which fights for freedom of expression for authors and journalists, when she takes over from Lisa Appignanesi, who has held the post since 2007.

Appignanesi said she will miss heading the charity, but claimed Slovo will lead it with 'great panache and steady intelligence'.

Slovo commented: 'I am extremely honoured to have been elected president of English PEN.'

She added that she hopes the charity remains 'at the forefront of the defence of free expression … throughout the world'.

Past presidents of English PEN include Antonia Fraser, H.G. Wells, Rosamond Lehmann, Stephen Spender and John Galsworthy.

The organisation also announced that novelist Salman Rushdie has received the Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Achievement.

In October, English PEN issued a statement of support for Arundhati Roy, after it was reported that the God of Small Things author had been arrested in India on charges of sedition.
 

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