The empty chair @ Reality Bites
  • Tuesday 01 July 2008

A literary feast for writers and readers
Where: Majestic Theatre, Pomona
When: Saturday 5 - Sunday 6 July 2008

Festival opening – 6:30PM Friday 4 July at Berkelouw Books, Eumundi

The empty chair on the stage during the Reality Bites writers’ festival this weekend symbolises writers who cannot participate in such programs as Reality Bites because they’ve been imprisoned, detained, disappeared, threatened or killed.

Reality organiser Bernice Childs, said this gesture is co-ordinated by Sydney PEN, a centre of International PEN, the world's oldest international literary organization.

“PEN works worldwide to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers, to act as a powerful voice for writers everywhere, to fight for the freedom to write and – just as importantly – the freedom to read.”

In 1980, the 15th of November was earmarked by International PEN as The Day of the Imprisoned Writer, a day when writers world wide would come together to commemorate their colleagues under attack. In most instances the 'Empty Chair' represented a specific individual rather than all writers at risk.

Throughout the Reality weekend, visiting writers will be acknowledging fellow writers represented by the Empty Chair, and can provide information about Sydney PEN's work.

Bernice said, “Reality Bites is pleased to be able to assist in the promotion of the Empty Chair concept and hopes that it will increase awareness of the number of writers who do not have the freedom to write – and in far too many cases, do not have freedom at all.”

Reality Bites – the truth about non fiction, will be held at the Majestic Theatre in Pomona, Sat 5 and Sun 6 July, with an opening function at Berkelouw Books Eumundi on Thursday evening.