What role should African literature play in schools? How to bring the writers of the day closer to students? How to create new readers for Malawi’s, Uganda’s or Mali’s national literatures? The answers offered by this video on PEN Civil Society projects are priceless:

Romana Cacchioli has been the Director of International Programmes at PEN for the last five years. It has been a great pleasure to share the direction of our organization with her during this time. Romana has managed to create a day-to-day network of ideas and strategies, of friendships and relationships with the organizations supporting PEN, which has allowed for us to hugely boost many of the global south PEN centers. She has never got tired of trying new things, knocking on doors, articulating projects, creating personal ties. And we have all benefited from her deep knowledge of Africa and of other continents.

Romana will continue to collaborate with PEN during 2019, but today it is her last day as a Director of International Programmes. For this reason, I would like to thank her for all her work by highlighting one of the main inheritances that we have received from her: the Civil Society Programmes. From the villas of Buenos Aires to the prisons of Kampala, from the rural communities of Myamar to the schools of Sierra Leone or the journalists who are victims of repression in Managua; hundreds of writers and thousands of young people have benefited from these programmes.

Furthermore, each one of them has not felt isolated against their own challenges, but feeling

part of an international network, where we all promote freedom of speech through literature instead. As Nokukhnaya Mncwabe from South African says: "We are not a silo, we are part of a global movement".

To you, Romana, on behalf of all of us, I want to say thank you for every day we

have shared with you and for all that you have given to PEN. And to you, reader of

this blog, I invite you to watch the video. I cannot think of a better way to wish you

a good festive season, happy New Year and Merry Christmas.

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