The PEN Liberian Chapter will protect writers and encourage the freedom of expression and the preservation of Liberian literature, its president Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley has said.
At the official launch of the organization recently at the Stella Maris Polytechnic School in Monrovia, Dr. Wesley said it is the duty of the association to protect writers as well as freedom of expression.
Dr. Wesley further stated that the organization will consist of writers whose vision remains clearly transparent to be a powerful force that supports writing and writers.
“Our vision to support Liberian writers stems from our understanding of the art of literature and writing and the role of the writer in the world,” she said.
She added that the support will include art in all, “Its forms, including music, dance, theater and literature, which are important to every culture and people, no matter where they live.”
She explained that Africa’s cultural foundation is intertwined with art. She quoted a Ghanaian writer: “Literature must mainly be a social, cultural and a political force to enhance society’s wellbeing.”
Dr. Wesley said Liberian writers are like all writers around the world, and therefore they need a body such as PEN Liberian Chapter to nurture and defend their freedom to write.
She added that music, village songs and theater, drumming, masks and folklore, myths and legends, oral traditions, storytelling are centuries old pillars that today’s African writers have relied on for their source of creativity.
“The PEN Liberian Chapter, with support from PEN International and its affiliates will be a force for the transformation of Liberian literature,” she said.
She asserted that the PEN Liberian Chapter will inspire young writers through programs, workshops in the schools and publications to uplift Liberian writers and Literature.
The president said PEN Liberian Chapter cannot be an organization that kills itself through selfish greed and urged the members to work together.
Earlier, Stella Maris president, Sis. Mary Laurene Brown gave a participatory lecture on the state of writing and writers in Liberia.
Meanwhile, other officers are Mr. Mike Butscher as executive director, F. Shelton Gonkerwon, on communication and membership is James V. Dwalu. PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere and has chapters in over 100 countries.