Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) takes place annually on 19 November to celebrate the work of women entrepreneurs. The inaugural event was held in New York City at the United Nations, with additional events being held simultaneously in several other countries. 144 nations overall recognized the first WED in 2014, which included the presentation of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards. The organization behind WED also has an ambassadorship and fellowship program.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was founded and implemented by Wendy Diamond, Pet Pioneer, Animal Fair Media Founder and Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient after she volunteered with the Adelante Foundation who provides microcredit to low income women while in Honduras. Upon her return to the US she decided she wanted to develop something to help this and similar philanthropic causes. The first day was held on November 19, 2014, and was observed in 144 countries that year. It was described by Fortune Magazine as “a global movement to celebrate and support female founders and shed light on some of their challenges and “to mobilize a global network of female business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers who support and empower this community of women entrepreneurs and their businesses.

November 19 was proclaimed an “official day” by both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and is celebrated annually at the United Nations and around the globe. The U.S. House of Representatives also annually recognizes the WEDO movement November 19th as “A Day in Honor of Women Entrepreneurs” under the leadership of Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event convenes at the United Nations in New York City including a conference, speakers, and the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards. An Education Philanthropy Pioneer Award was given to Barack Obama’s grandmother Sarah Obama, for her work in bringing gender equality to education in that country. Obama was presented the award by actress Quvenzhané Wallis. Loreen Arbus received an award for her philanthropic work, as did to Lynn Tilton.Other attendees included actress Rose Byrne; Miss Universe Gabriela Isler; Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon; and First Ladies Gertrude Maseko of Malawi and Penehupifo Pohamba of Namibia. Delegations were sent from many different nations attended the event as well. The United Nations Foundation is a founding partner of the events.
Additional events were held internationally, including one at the University of Luxembourg, which held a conference that featured speeches from women entrepreneurs as well as discussions between local entrepreneurs. The keynote address was provided by Deputy Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Marjut Santoni. Other events were also held, in Lagos, Nigeria. Where WED founded and launched the Women Wednesday social media event held on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving in 2014, to support women in business and related causes.

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day (WTD) is celebrated on 19 November. The purpose of World Toilet day is to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis, to inspire people to take steps to address the global sanitation crisis and raise awareness of the billions of people who do not have access to a toilet. The aims of World Toilet Day include Creating awareness of the global sanitation crisis, inspiring action around the world to improve sanitation, encouraging UN-Water Members and Partners to take collaborative action. Strengthening the voice of the UN system on WASH-related issues, Increasing awareness and knowledge of water and sanitation and improving sanitation for households and communities.

World Toilet Organization (WTO) was founded by Jack Sim in 2001 who declared 19 November as World Toilet Day (WTD). In the following years, the WTO began pushing for global recognition for World Toilet Day. In 2007 the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) began to actively support WTD and promote awareness. In 2013, a joint initiative between the Government of Singapore and the World Toilet Organization led to Singapore’s first United Nations resolution, named “Sanitation for All”. This resolution calls for collective action to end the world’s sanitation crisis. World Toilet Day was declared an official United Nations day when it was adopted by 122 countries at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Lack of access to sanitation (toilets) has a profound impact on public health, dignity, and safety. Open defecation contributes to the spread of many serious and fatal diseases such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis, diarrhea and schistosomiasis. Stunted growth in children is another problem when children are being exposed to human feces when toilets are absent, ineffective or not used. An analysis of 145 countries estimated that 58% of all cases of diarrhea were caused by unsafe water, poor sanitation and poor hygiene practices, including inadequate handwashing. This has resulted in more than 526,000 children under the age of 5 dying from water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) related diarrhea in 2015 alone. This means, nearly 1,400 children die each day. Providing sanitation has been estimated to lower the odds of children suffering diarrhea and has lowered under-five mortality This is because preventing human contact with feces in the environment prevents many diseases.

Lack of toilets in schools and health facilities is also a problem in many developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, 19% of health care facilities in low and middle income country settings lack improved sanitation; 35% lack access to water and soap for handwashing. The absence of water and sanitation make it difficult to provide routine medical services and to prevent and control infection. The provision of clean and safe school toilets (together with water and hygiene in schools) significantly reduces hygiene related disease, increases student attendance and contributes to dignity and gender equality. However, more than half of all primary schools in the developing countries with available data do not have improved water facilities and nearly two thirds lack improved sanitation.

World Toilet Day aims to inspire people to take action on these issues related to the lack of toilets. Now Thanks to initiatives like World Toilet Day, the importance of toilets for sustainable development is being recognized more and more. For example, the Sustainable Development Goals from 2015 include a target under Goal 6 to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030. This is done through public communications, campaigns, reports and events. Worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation.” The global sanitation crisis affects people in developing countries the most. World Toilet Day is a call to action. The right to water and sanitation was officially declared a human right by the UN on 28 July 2010. World Toilet Day was established by the World Toilet Organization in 2001. In 2013, the UN passed a resolution recognizing World Toilet Day as an official UN international day and The activities and action for World Toilet Day are coordinated by UN-Water. In 2015, as part of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal number 6 (SDG 6) was launched. This goal commits the world to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all” by 2030. The universal provision of effective toilets is now recognized as a global development priority at the highest political level.

International Men’s Day

International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated every year on 19 November. Inaugurated in 1992 on February by Thomas Oaster, the project of International Men’s Day was conceived one year earlier on 8 February 1991. The project was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. The longest running celebration of International Men’s Day is Malta, where events have occurred since 7 February 1994.

Jerome Teelucksingh, who revived the event, chose 19 November to honour his father’s birthday and also to celebrate how on that date in 1989 Trinidad and Tobago’s football team had united the country with their endeavours to qualify for the World Cup.[5][6] Teelucksingh has promoted International Men’s Day as not just a gendered day but a day where all issues affecting men and boys can be addressed. He has said of IMD and its grass roots activists, “They are striving for gender equality and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society”

The objectives of celebrating an International Men’s Day, set out in “The Six Pillars of International Men’s Day”, include focusing on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role models. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.

International Men’s Day is celebrated in over 70 countries, on 19 November, and global support for the celebration is broad. International Men’s Day is followed by Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, forming a 48-hour celebration of men and children, respectively. Additionally, the month of November is also occasionally recognized as International Men’s Month. International Men’s Day is supported by a variety of organisations including UNESCO. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.” She added that UNESCO was looking forward to cooperating with the organizers.

The idea for an International Men’s Day has been noted since at least the 1960s, when many men were reported to be campaigning to make 23 February International Men’s Day, the equivalent of 8 March, which is International Women’s Day” In the Soviet Union this day was The Red Army and Navy Day since 1922, which in 2002 was renamed to Defender of the Fatherland Day. The date was informally viewed a male counterpart of Women’s Day (8 March) in some territories of the Union, however due to the day’s limited focus to historical events some countries of the former union have moved to adopt the more ‘male specific’ 19 November as International Men’s Day, including Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and Georgia.

In 1968 American Journalist John P. Harris wrote an editorial in the Salina Journal highlighting a lack of balance in the Soviet system, which promoted an International Women’s Day for the female workers without promoting a corresponding day for male workers. Harris stated that although he did not begrudge Soviet women their March day of glory, its resulting gender inequality clearly exhibited a serious flaw in the Communist system, which, “makes much of the equal rights it has given the sexes, but as it turns out, the women are much more equal than the men.”[16] Harris stated that while the men toiled along in their grooves doing what their government and womenfolk tell them to do, there was no day when males are recognised for their service, leading Harris to conclude that “This strikes me as unwarranted discrimination and rank injustice.” Similar questions about the inequality of observing women’s day without a corresponding men’s day occurred in media publications from the 1960s through to the 1990s, when the first attempts at inaugurating international Men’s Day were made.

In the early 1990s, organizations in the United States, Australia and Malta held small events in February at the invitation of Thomas Oaster who directed the Missouri Center for Men’s Studies at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Oaster successfully promoted the event in 1993 and 1994, but the 1995 event was poorly attended so he ceased plans to continue the event. Australians also ceased to observe the event (until they re-established it on 19 November 2003) whilst the Maltese Association for Men’s Rights continued as the only country that continued to observe the event each year in February. As the only remaining country still observing the original February date, the Maltese AMR Committee also voted in 2009 to shift the date of their observation to 19 November.

Although International Men’s and Women’s Day are considered to be ‘gender focussed’ events, they are not ideological mirror images because they highlight issues that are considered unique to men or to women. The history of IMD primarily concerns celebrating issues that are considered unique to men’s and boys experiences, along with the emphasis on positive role models “is deemed necessary in a social context which is often fascinated with images of males behaving badly… In highlighting positive male role models IMD attempts to show that males of all ages respond much more energetically to positive role models than they do to negative stereotyping.”

Occult Day/Pushbutton phone day☎️

Occult day takes place on 18 November. The purpose of Occult Day is to encourage people to delve into the mysterious world of the occult, where life beyond the natural world seeps into everyday life, to explore what is hidden, to commune with spirits and to seek the truths that hide behind the stars and between the shadows. If you’ve ever heard strange whispers or dreamt dreams that became prophetic, then Occult Day is your opportunity to listen a little closer, dream a little deeper, and reach for those mysteries that lie just beyond the reach of the common man.

The occult (from the Latin word occultus meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret”) is “knowledge of the hidden” or “knowledge of the paranormal”, as opposed to facts and “knowledge of the measurable”, usually referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that “is meant only for certain people” or that “must be kept hidden”, but for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends pure reason and the physical sciences. The terms esoteric and arcane can also be used to describe the occult, in addition to their meanings unrelated to the supernatural. The hidden that is referred to isn’t merely that which lies beneath the stone or hidden in the dark, but those places within ourselves that call out in our wilder moments, asking us to truly embrace our spiritual selves and the secrets it has to impart on us.

The term occult sciences was used in the 16th century to refer to astrology, alchemy, and natural magic. The term occultism emerged in 19th-century France, where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, and in 1875 was introduced into the English language by the esotericist Helena Blavatsky. Throughout the 20th century, the term was used idiosyncratically by a range of different authors, but by the 21st century was commonly employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants. Occultism is thus often used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and New Age.

Particularly since the late twentieth century, various authors have used the occult as a substantivized adjective. In this usage, “the occult” is a category into which varied beliefs and practices are placed if they are considered to fit into neither religion nor science. “The occult” in this sense is very broad, encompassing such phenomenon as beliefs in vampires or fairies and movements like Ufology and parapsychology. In that same period, occult and culture were combined to form the neologism occulture. Initially used in the industrial music scene, it was later given scholarly applications.

Occult Day was established to Educate people concerning the occult. Occult practices are not all dangerous paths and profane dealings with entities of dubious moral intent, instead they are a way to expand our consciousness and understand the part of ourselves that lives outside the material. Every culture has its mystery religions and occult practices, whether it’s the complex workings of Ritual Magic or the exploration of G-d through the Kaballah in Judaism, there isn’t a single culture that isn’t touched by the Occult and Occult Day is a chance to finally listen and move forward into your greater knowledge.

Other Holidays and events occurring on November 18

Pushbutton Phone Day
Married To a Scorpio Support Day
National Vichyssoise Day
William Tell Day

World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day is observed annually on 17 November to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide. The first international awareness day for preterm birth was created by European parent organizations in 2008. It has been celebrated as World Prematurity Day since 2010.

Preterm birth, also known as premature birth, is the birth of a baby at fewer than 37 weeks’ gestational age. Symptoms of preterm labor include uterine contractions which occur more often than every ten minutes or the leaking of fluid from the vagina. Premature infants are at greater risk for cerebral palsy, delays in development, hearing problems and sight problems. These risks are greater the earlier a baby is born. Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born worldwide.

The cause of preterm birth is often not known. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, being pregnant with more than one baby, being either obese or underweight, a number of vaginal infections, tobacco smoking and psychological stress, among other It is recommended that labor not be medically induced before 39 weeks unless required for other medical reasons. The same recommendation applies to cesarean section. Medical reasons for early delivery include preeclampsia

In those at risk, the hormone progesterone, if taken during pregnancy, may prevent preterm birth.Evidence does not support the usefulness of bed rest. It is estimated that at least 75% of preterm infants would survive with appropriate treatment, and the survival rate is highest among the infants born the latest. In women who might deliver between 24 and 37 weeks, corticosteroids improve outcomes. A number of medications, including nifedipine, may delay delivery so that a mother can be moved to where more medical care is available and the corticosteroids have a greater chance to work Once the baby is born, care includes keeping the baby warm through skin to skin contact, supporting breastfeeding, treating infections and supporting breathing.

Preterm birth is the most common cause of death among infants worldwide. About 15 million babies are preterm each year (5% to 18% of all deliveries). Approximately 0.5% of births are extremely early periviable births, and these account for most of the deaths. In many countries, rates of premature births have increased between the 1990s and 2010s. Complications from preterm births resulted in 0.81 million deaths in 2015 down from 1.57 million in 1990. The chance of survival at 22 weeks is about 6%, while at 23 weeks it is 26%, 24 weeks 55% and 25 weeks about 72%.The chances of survival without any long-term difficulties are lower.

Urgent action is always requested to address preterm birth given that the first country-level estimates show that globally 15 million babies are born too soon and rates are increasing in most countries. Preterm birth is critical for progress on Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG) for child survival by 2015 and beyond, and gives added value to maternal health (MDG 5) investments also linking to non-communicable diseases. For preterm babies who survive, the additional burden of prematurity-related disability may affect families and health systems.

Parent groups, families, health professionals, politicians, hospitals, organisations and other stakeholders involved in preterm birth observe this day with media campaigns, local events and other activities conducted on local, regional, national or international level to raise awareness among the public. In 2013, WPD was celebrated in over 60 countries.

More Holidays and National Days taking Place on 17 November include

  • Little Mermaid Day 2018.
  • National Farm Joke Day.
  • World Peace Day
    National Take a Hike Day.
  • National Survivors of Suicide Day.
  • national Unfriend Day.
  • Family Volunteer Day
  • Homemade Bread Day
  • International Games Day.
  • International Students’ Day.
  • National Adoption Day.
  • National Baklava Day.

International student day

International Students’ Day is held annually on November 17. The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the killings of Jan Opletal and worker Václav Sedláček. The Nazis rounded up the students, murdered nine student leaders and sent over 1,200 students to concentration camps, mainly Sachsenhausen. They subsequently closed all Czech universities and colleges. By this time Czechoslovakia no longer existed, as it had been divided into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic under a fascist puppet government.

In late 1939 the Nazi authorities in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia suppressed a demonstration in Prague held by students of the Medical Faculty of Charles University. The demonstration was held on 28 October to commemorate the anniversary of the independence of the Czechoslovak Republic. During this demonstration the student Jan Opletal was shot, and later died from his injuries on 11 November. On 15 November his body was supposed to be transported from Prague to his home in Moravia. His funeral procession consisted of thousands of students, who turned the event into an anti-Nazi demonstration. However, the Nazi authorities took drastic measures in response, closing all Czech higher education institutions, arresting more than 1,200 students, who were then sent to concentration camps, executing nine students and professors without trial on 17 November. Historians speculate that the Nazis granted permission for the funeral procession already expecting a violent outcome, in order to use that as a pretext for closing down universities and purging anti-fascist dissidents.

The nine students and professors executed on 17 November in Prague were:

Josef Matoušek (historian and associate professor; participated in the organisation of Opletal’s funeral)
Jaroslav Klíma (student of law; Chairman of the National Association of Czech Students in Bohemia and Moravia, requested the release of students arrested by the Gestapo during Opletal’s funeral)
Jan Weinert (student of Bohemistics and Germanistics; requested the release of students arrested by the Gestapo during Opletal’s funeral)
Josef Adamec (student of law; secretary of the National Association of Czech Students in Bohemia and Moravia)
Jan Černý (student of medicine; requested the release of students arrested by the Gestapo during Opletal’s funeral)
Marek Frauwirth (student of economics; as an employee of the Slovak embassy in Prague, he was issuing false passports to Jews trying to flee from the Nazis)
Bedřich Koula (student of law; secretary of the Association of Czech students in Bohemia)
Václav Šafránek (student of architecture; record-keeper of the National Association of Czech Students in Bohemia and Moravia)
František Skorkovský (student of law; Director of a Committee of the Confédération Internationale des Étudiants, Chairman of the Foreign Department of the National Association of Czech Students in Bohemia and Moravia)
An initial idea to commemorate the atrocities inflicted on students in German-occupied Czechoslovakia was discussed among Czechoslovak Army troops in England in 1940. A small group of soldiers, former elected student officials, decided to renew the Central Association of Czechoslovak Students (USCS) which had been disbanded by the German Protectorate in Czechoslovakia. The idea of commemorating the November 17 tragedy was discussed with the British National Union of Students of England and Wales and other foreign students fighting the Nazis from England. With the support of Edvard Beneš, President-in-Exile of Czechoslovakia, the USCS was reestablished in London on 17 November 1940 and Throughout 1941 efforts were made to convince students of other nations to acknowledge November 17 as a day of commemoration, celebrating and encouraging resistance against the Nazis and the fight for freedom and democracy in all nations. These negotiating efforts were mostly carried out by Zink, Paleček, Kavan and Lena Chivers, Vice President of the NUS. Fourteen countries eventually agreed and signed the following proclamation:

“We, students of Great Britain and its territories and India, North and South America, the USSR, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, China, Holland, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and all free nations, to honour and commemorate the tortured and executed students who were the first to raise their voices to reject Nazi oppression and condemn the occupation of 1939, proclaim November 17 as International Students’ Day.”

The inaugural meeting was held in London’s Caxton Hall on 16 November 1941, with support from President Beneš. The proclamation was read and accepted by all attendees, among them representatives of all governments who were in exile in London. The meeting was presided over by USCS Chairman Paleček; the key speakers were Sergej Ingr, Czechoslovak Secretary of Defence; Lena Chivers and Elizabeth Shields-Collins of the UK; Olav Rytter of Norway; Claude Guy of France, A. Vlajčić representing Yugoslavia.

On 17 November 1941, members of the USCS Executive Committee had a long audience with President Beneš, and similar meetings with the President took place annually on November 17 throughout WWII. The BBC’s Czechoslovakian department prepared a special report for November 17 which was broadcast to occupied Czechoslovakia. Many British universities interrupted their schedule to commemorate the events in Prague two years earlier, by reading the proclamation of November 17. Among them were Manchester, Reading, Exeter, Bristol, Aberystwyth, Leicester, London, Holloway College, Bournemouth, Sheffield, King’s College London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Bangor, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. During the war Oxford University extended assistance to the closed Charles University, allowing dozens of Czechoslovak students in exile to graduate.

George Spelvin Day

George Spelvin day takes place annaully on 15 November. The purpose of George Spelvin Day is to commemorate those unsung actors who appear in film but remain anonymous or are not credited. George Spelvin, Georgette Spelvin, and Georgina Spelvin are traditional pseudonyms used in programs in American theater. The reasons for the use of an alternate name vary. Actors who do not want to be credited, or whose names would otherwise appear twice because they are playing more than one role in a production, may adopt a pseudonym. Actors who are members of the AFL-CIO trade union of professional actors known as Actors’ Equity Association, but are working under a non-union contract and wish to avoid the significant penalties ranging from substantial fines to revocation of union membership that could result from working under non-union contracts, also use pseudonyms.

In some plays, this name has appeared in cast lists as the name of an actor (or actress) portraying a character who is mentioned in the dialogue but never turns up onstage: with the role credited to “George Spelvin”, the audience is not forewarned that the character never makes an entrance. The name is said to have first appeared on a cast list in 1886 in Karl the Peddler, a play by Charles A. Gardiner. The 1927 musical play Strike Up the Band by George S. Kaufman and George and Ira Gershwin features a character named George Spelvin. The name can also be used when one actor is playing what appear to be two characters, but is later revealed as being one person with two names or identities. Because of the pseudonym, the audience is not clued-in that the two seemingly separate characters are meant to be the same person. This is especially useful in murder mysteries.

“Georgina Spelvin” has fallen out of general use (or become more popular depending on your outlook ) since it was adopted as a screen name by pornographic actress Shelley Graham, who was credited by that name in The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and her subsequent films.

Another example of the name being used occurred in Players de Noc’s production of The Full Monty, about a group of men who try their luck as male strippers. A member of the production’s orchestra, not wanting members of his church to find he was involved with such a risqué play, had his name credited as George Spelvin. The one-act play The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang features a main character named George Spelvin, and the January 27, 1942, episode of Fibber McGee and Molly (“The Blizzard”) features a visit by a stranger calling himself George Spelvin (played by Frank Nelson).

The columnist Westbrook Pegler used this name in his writings; one of his books of collected columns is titled George Spelvin, America. The name was used in the I Love Lucy episode “Don Juan is Shelved”, in the Mama’s Family episode “Fangs A Lot, Mama” as the author of a book called A Nun’s Life, and as the name of a character villain voiced by Peter Serafinowicz in the “Tragical History” episode of Archer. The name may also be used for a character who never delivers a line, and thus any member of the stage crew might be filling in the role. For example, a person makes a delivery to a character onstage: the doorbell rings, the delivery is made, and the delivery carrier disappears, with no words spoken.

More Holidays and National Days which take place on 15 November

• America Recycles Day.
• American Enterprise Day.
• Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
• George Spelvin Day.
• Great American Smokeout.
• I Love to Write Day.
• International Guinness World Records Day.
• National Bundt Day.
• National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
• National Little Red Wagon Day.
• National Philanthropy Day.
• National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.
• National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day.
• Nouveau Beaujolais Day.
• Pack Your Mom’s Lunch Day.
• Proclamação da República.
• Use Less Stuff Day.

Day of the Imprisoned Writer

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer takes place annually on 15 November. The purpose of Day of the Imprisoned Writer is to recognize and support writers who resist, or have resisted, repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. This day is observed each year on November 15. It was started in 1981 by PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 by Catherine Amy Dawson Scott, with John Galsworthy as its first president. Its first members included Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Craig, George Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells. PEN originally stood for “Poets, Essayists, Novelists”, but now stands for “Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists”, and includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians. PEN International established the following aims:

To promote intellectual co-operation and understanding among writers;
To create a world community of writers that would emphasize the central role of literature in the development of world culture; and,
To defend literature against the many threats to its survival which the modern world poses.

The association has autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries. Other goals of PEN International included: to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.

In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action—in the form of donations and letters of appeal—on behalf of the selected writer. The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007 and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.

J.G.Ballard

English novelist and short story writer James Graham “J. G.” Ballard was born 15 November 1930. He was also a prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), which was adapted into a (rather strange) film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Empire of the Sun is Based on Ballard’s boyhood in the Shanghai International Settlement and his internment by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. It recounts the story of a young British boy, Jaime Graham, who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents. He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Then having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center. Although the Japanese are “officially” the enemies, Jim identifies partly with them, both because he adores the pilots with their splendid machines and because he feels that Lunghua is still a comparatively safer place for him, however the food supply runs short and Jim barely survives, with people around him starving to death. The camp prisoners are then forced upon a march to Nantao, with many dying along the route. However some of the people including Jim are saved from starvation by air drops from American Bombers.

The book was adapted by Tom Stoppard in 1987. The screenplay was filmed by Steven Spielberg, to critical acclaim, being nominated for six Oscars and winning three British Academy Awarhds (for cinematography, music and sound). It starred 13-year-old Christian Bale, as well as John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson; it also featured a cameo by the 21 year old Ben Stiller, in a dramatic role. The literary distinctiveness of Ballard’s work has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian”, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.” Sadly Ballard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2006, from which he died in London on 19th April 2009, however In 2008, The Times included Ballard on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.