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Jessica Duchen
Thursday 9th July 2009
Breaking through the Silence

There's an inspiring concert tonight at St Margaret's Church, Westminster: Breaking through the Silence is English PEN's Writers in Prison major fundraising event of the year, an evening of music and spoken word designed to honour and pay tribute to persecuted writers worldwide.

Nicholas Cleobury will conduct the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and a starry line-up of guest thesps will be reading from the work of persecuted Burmese writers, including Aung San Suu Kyi.The concert is held in associated with the John Armitage Memorial Trust.

The former hostage in Lebanon John McCarthy has prepared a libretto entitled 'Thoughts Scribbled on a Blank Wall' especially for the occasion. As Caspar Walsh puts it in his post on The Guardian's JoePublic blog:

"News is good. YouTube, press, radio and TV are all effective in keeping us broadly in touch with world events. But, for me, none are as effective as the arts in getting powerful, emotive messages across to those prepared to wake up and listen...I've been doing it since I was released from prison and helping others do it for the best part of 20 years. Forget empirical evidence, it works."

English PEN is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Zargana, Zaw Thet Htwe, Win Maw, Saw Wei and all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Please come and support this powerful and tragically necessary event.


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About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

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