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PEN after Deniz Yücel's resignation: malice, trench warfare, "hellish spectacle"


After Deniz Yücel's departure as PEN President, the remaining members of the Executive Committee have now resigned. Some criticize the manners in the association as shabby, others are considering leaving.

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Excitement in the PEN association: PEN member Christoph Nix (right) stands next to the ex-president of the association Deniz Yücel at the beginning of the general meeting in Gotha


Martin Schutt / picture alliance / dpa

After the surprising departure of PEN President Deniz Yücel on Friday, the other remaining members of the Presidium in Gotha also resigned.

An emergency board is now to run the PEN business until a new election is held at an extraordinary general meeting.

Many members have also considered leaving the writers' association, as they announced on Saturday.

They judged the mutual contact as unworthy, shameful, shabby and embarrassing.

Bewildered by battles

In the discussion at the general meeting in Gotha, the writers Eva Menasse and Julia Franck expressed their dismay at the malice and trench warfare that had come to light there.

Franck spoke of a "hellish spectacle" and battles in which she did not want to take part.

Other PEN members called for staff rejuvenation.

Writer Thea Dorn said that staying in PEN only makes sense for her if the association radically reorganizes itself.

PEN member Herbert Wiesner said: »We need a fresh start with younger people after this disaster, we are heading for nirvana.«

The journalist Yücel had given up his presidency on Friday evening in Gotha after a sometimes venomous debate and a barely failed motion to be voted out.

At the same time, the 48-year-old declared his departure from the "Bratwurstbude" PEN.

The management style of the top echelons, who were only elected in October, had led to fierce internal quarrels and a deep division in the association.

This includes insults, allegations of bullying and the tone of conversation.

The allegations relate to a comprehensive exchange of mail in the Presidium.

The management style of the Presidium was debated heatedly and in a very angry mood in Gotha.

Already in March, five former presidents of the PEN center called for Yücel's resignation.

In a letter to Yücel, they justify this by saying that at the opening event of the Lit.Cologne literature festival, he spoke out in favor of a no-fly zone in Ukraine and thus in favor of direct military intervention by NATO.

Apparently, however, Yücel had already lost the support of parts of the PEN Presidium.

According to SPIEGEL information, in a letter dated February 20, 2022, he asked some members to collect allegations against two of his opponents.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-05-14

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