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Tone Peršak new Slovenian PEN president

Ljubljana, 26 October - Slovenian PEN elected writer and former politician Tone Peršak its new president on Monday to succeed Ifigenija Simonović, who has served since March 2017.

Tone Peršak (right) in 2016 when he was serving as culture minister in the Miro Cerar government.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

Peršak, 73, already served as Slovenian PEN president in the 2000s. He has also served as culture minister and the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association.

He once said that "PEN has no tanks or much money, but it can speak, and we believe that words still have some power".

The Slovenian section of PEN International was set up in 1926 as one of the first in the world, only five years after the first association of its kind was established in London.

With its initiatives, the Slovenian centre was actively involved in the Slovenian and international environments, including by condemning Nazism and Fascism.

Suspending its activity during WWII, it was relaunched in 1962 only to strengthen its reputation as a meeting point of the East and West by organising PEN's world congress at the Alpine resort of Bled in 1965.

It also established the Writers for Peace Committee, which is seated in Ljubljana, and in 1968 started organising international meetings of writers, at first in Piran on the Slovenian coast, and since 1977 at Bled.

Apart from Mira Mihelič (1912-1985), Simonović has so far been the only women at its helm.

© STA, 2020