Scottish PEN Empty chair - A 'Chair for Liu Xiaobo’

07/12/10

ScottishPENEmptyChair.jpg

See the chair on You Tube www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ymb71SCrEM

PEN International, the worldwide association of writers who campaign for free expression and against oppression of journalists, authors and poets, have over many years evolved the ‘empty chair’ as a symbol for those writers prevented from reading in public because they live in regimes where their work is censored, and they suffer incarceration, torture and worse.

Earlier this year the Scottish Centre of PEN International worked on a project with the art department of Lomond School to create a special ‘Empty Chair’ marking the 50th anniversary of their campaigns for imprisoned writers. The Lomond School / Scottish PEN ‘Empty Chair’ has been a huge success at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Wigtown Book Festival and many other literary events across Scotland; there is even a miniature (“bonsai”) version of the Scottish ‘Empty Chair’ on display at Waseda University in Tokyo.

The full-size original chair now forms part of an exhibition at the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh, which runs until 2 April 2011, courtesy of The City of Edinburgh Council.

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