Who we are

PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 by Catherine Amy Dawson Scott and John Galsworthy to promote intellectual cooperation among writers and to fight for their rights. In 2010 PEN International numbered more than 140 free-standing representative offices in different countries. The current President of PEN International is a novelist Jennifer Clement.

Belarusian PEN Centre was founded in 1989 by the Committee which included 20 Belarusian writers. It was admitted to PEN International in May 1990 at the 55 Congress on Madeira Island. Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus registered Belarusian PEN Centre in November 16th 1990 on the grounds of the Statute and the Resolution of the Council of Ministers №274 dd. November 1st 1990 and reregistered in October 31st 1999. As a member of PEN International Belarusian PEN Centre has a status A in the UNESCO and consultative status in the UN.

In 1994 Belarusian PEN Centre found two annual literary awards which are given to prominent writers to reward their work and to celebrate their achievements. These are Ales Adamovich Award and Frantsishak Bahushevich Award. In 2012 Belarusian PEN Centre became one of the founders of the Jerzy Giedroyc Literary Award. These awards still exist and, at the same time, new projects and awards are created.

From 1996 Belarusian PEN Centre is a member of the Writers in Prison Committee established in 1960 by the Assembly of Delegates of PEN International.

Presidents of Belarusian PEN Centre

1990 – 1999
Ryhor Baradulin

1999 — 2003
Vasil Bykau

2003— 2005
Lyavon Barshcheuski

2005 — 2009
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu

2009 — 2017
Andrej Khadanovich

2017 — 2019
Taciana Niadbaj

2019 – till present
Svetlana Alexievich

Our mission is to develop Belarusian culture, defend freedom of expression and the rights of writers, journalists and other literary women and men.

We create space for dialogue, foster the development of Belarusian literary process and Belarusian culture in general, fight against any manifestations of hatred and stand up for the universal ideals of peace and equality. We consistently defend freedom of expression and campaign to draw attention of Belarusian and international community to the violations of writers’ rights.

The members of Belarusian PEN adhere the Belarusian PEN Charter, share the principles and values of the PEN International Charter, acknowledge the Principles of Human Rights Defenders developed by the Belarusian Human Rights Community.


Svetlana Alexievich
Writer, Nobel laureate

Vice President
Taciana Niadbaj
Poet, translator, cultural project manager

Board member
Andrej Khadanovich
Poet, translator, literary scholar

Board member
Maryja Martysevich
Poet, translator, project manager

Board member
Uladzimir Arlou
Poet, prose writer, historian, essayist

Board member
Siarhej Dubaviec
Writer, journalist

Board member
Liavon Barsceuski
Translator, linguist


Taciana Niadbaj
is a strategic development coordinator; she takes part in organizing Jerzy Giedroyc Literary Award, Carlos Sherman prize, Natallia Arsiennieva prize, Michal Aniempadystau prize, Pradmova Literary Festival and some other events. She represents Belarusian PEN-centre at the international meetings and is responsible for deepening the co-working processes with the partners and works for strengthening the human rights sector of PEN’s activities.

Uladzimir Liankievič
Coordinator of Ciotka prize, Debut Maksim Bahdanovich literary prize, Litradio editor

Darya Wiesner
Coordinator of the Book of the Year prize, Debut Maksim Bahdanovich literary prize and Ciotka prize

Darya Belkevich
Web-site editor, social media manager, coordinator of Pradmova Literary Festival, Carlos Sherman and Natallia Arsiennieva prizes

Hanna Komar
Secretary, translator

Katsiaryna Trubovich
Coordinator of Michal Aniempadystaū, Natallia Arsiennieva and Carlos Sherman prizes

Belarusian PEN’s contacts

[email protected]

Belarusian PEN on social media:

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