Launched in September 2009 Free Word is an international centre for literature, literacy and free expression, hosting regular talks, screenings, and performances. Free Word’s mission is innovation and collaboration, pushing boundaries to promote, protect and democratise the power of the written and spoken word for creative and free expression. It aims to bring together organisations across literature, literacy and free expression to enhance their work and the profile of their sectors. Shreela Ghosh, Free Word’s director says “Freedom of Expression and social justice is central to Free Word’s vision. We are keen to collaborate with partners and the Academy of Ideas is a natural ally. This satellite event as part of the Battle of Ideas on the proposed changes to the legal aid system raises a number of questions about access and fairness which are definitely of interest to our audiences. Since Free Word was launched there have been several debates on the law and two of our founding partners, English PEN and Index on Censorship have been spearheading the Libel Reform Campaign.
Free Word Centre aims to be a national resource, with strong links to associates and partners throughout the UK and internationally. Ten organisations are based at Free Word: Apples & Snakes; Arvon; ARTICLE l9; Booktrust; English PEN; Index on Censorship; the Reading Agency; The Literary Consultancy; Dalkey Archive Press and J-News. The first eight are founder organisations, part of the original consortium which helped evolve the concepts behind the Free Word Centre.