News: Pelikan Hubs 2021 Cancelled

The global coronavirus pandemic has now been raging for well over a year with no clear end in sight. There have already been almost 211 million cases reported across the globe with 4,413,638 lives lost. The death toll will likely continue to grow as long as vaccinations lag and the delta variant rampages. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers as they are an inconvenient barrier for our desire to return to some sense of normalcy. It’s important to resist becoming numb to the carnage, a global death toll slightly larger than the entire population of Los Angeles, California. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of these people, watching their health deteriorate despite maximal medical therapy until their lives were felled by the ravages of the virus. With the global situation far from under control, it should come as no surprise then that Pelikan announced via their newsletter today that Pelikan Hubs 2021 would indeed be cancelled. Long suspected to be a foregone conclusion at this point, it is nice to finally have an official statement from the company about the state of the Hubs event. I commend Pelikan’s decision, even if it was the only responsible choice they could make. While these are sad times, there is reason to have hope for a brighter future. Despite the 2020 and 2021 events having been necessarily cancelled, Pelikan began their notice with a statement tinged with optimism, a commitment to not letting the Hubs become a casualty of the pandemic.

Pelikan opened their missive with the affirmation, “We are looking forward to meeting again in 2022.” Hopefully we will see a rise in vaccination rates which is right now our best chance at mitigating the virus’ impact. With a lower incidence in our communities, we can all look forward to safe gatherings again in the future. Pelikan’s full message reads as follows;

“We didn’t take the decision lightly and spent a long time considering the options. We had hoped that in 2021 we would have left COVID-19 behind and be able to start anew. So it is with a heavy heart that we have decided, again, to drop the Pelikan Hubs for this year 2021. The Pelikan Hubs is an international gathering where all pen lovers and Pelikan fans worldwide meet in individual meetings in their favorite city.

Unfortunately, the current situation in the Corona pandemic is still not safe enough for us to call for face-to-face reunions. Therefore, there was an intense discussion whether a digital platform could be the right alternative format. Once again, we have had many conversations, and arrived to the conclusion that the personal exchange, the try-out of the various writing instruments and inks, and above all the personal conversations make up the cherished core of this event.

Therefore, we decided to keep this special format in its original format and we aim to offer it in 2022 again. Although this may not be good news for 2021, we are sure you will understand, as we have acted to ensure everyone’s safety. Of course, we want to stay in touch with our Pelikan fans and create an interesting offer that focuses on the love of writing. We will present you the details soon, stay tuned!”

The Pelikan Fine Writing Team

I think that the team’s words were well considered and strike a very reasonable tone that is respectful of the reality that we find ourselves in. What’s more, that last part of their statement is of particular interest and certainly raises an eyebrow. It foreshadows a looming announcement about a new initiative focused on the “love of writing.” That phrase could be interpreted in several different ways; a new pen, a new ink, or some other community based measure. Only time will tell what Pelikan might have up their sleeve.

24 responses

  1. Thanks for all your work at people’s bedsides. I am sure they appreciate your humanity. I’d rather cancel than see one extra case of covid transmission worldwide.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. While I respect their decision; I think they have missed a great opportunity. Last year, yes, I understand, but now more than ever, with so many negative ions spreading globally, would have been an extraordinarily empowering time for the Pelikan Hub to emerge in a virtual setting. Sure, no inks or pens – accepted – but as a sponsor/incentive for the global pen community to link world-wide and share pen joy… Why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think online access is somewhat variable across the globe and large virtual meetings, while they have come a long way, remain glitchy. I could see a virtual meet up as a big logistics nightmare in itself. Sure, it could have been doable but I think they likely couldn’t see an equitable way forward that would be inclusive for all. I’m sure that it wasn’t an easy decision for them to arrive upon.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Virtual settings are not a good substitute. We have been meeting virtually for pen club, and it is dominated by a handful of people. It’s not the same at all.

      The pandemic is not over. Pelikan made the only decision possible. I thank them for seeing that.

      Having just lost my father last Monday (not to COVID), I cannot imagine what it’s like for the doctors and nurses seeing people die unnecessarily because COVID got politicized. I looked up the Spanish flu, and it took about 3 years before it was safe. Things have changed. We have a vaccine. But we also have an ease of travel they did not have in the 1910s.

      My apologies for being a bit less than gracious.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I think virtual environments bring their own challenges and likely wouldn’t lend themselves well to the kind of gatherings we tend to enjoy. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing. The unnecessary deaths are incredibly hard on all the caregivers, I can tell you that. I’ve seen more hardened nurses cry this past year than ever before. Big pandemics like this do take around 3 years to get on the other side of but with the world in the state that its in, who knows.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My degree is in Medieval/Renaissance lit and I can’t help but think about the plague and its roller-coaster cycle of resurgence and retreat that lasted not for three years but for three centuries. We now have a better understanding of how diseases are transmitted than we did in either 1348 or 1665 and medications that can stave off the worst effects of so many diseases, but we also can travel farther and faster than anyone could in the Early Modern period. I think COVID is here to stay. How much it affects our lives will depend on the choices we all make and how much we care about how our choices limit or expand the lives of others.

          And as you say, so many of the deaths and severe illnesses now were/are utterly preventable, which means that so much of the stress and trauma you and other medical providers are accumulating could also be mitigated. It makes me furious.

          As Schiller (I think) wrote, “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • COVID is almost certainly here to stay given how widespread it has become. We missed our window to snuff it out long ago. It will continue to directly impact our lives negatively for at least another year and a half is my prediction. The indirect impacts will be felt for a decade or more. The virus’ longevity is now destined to be much more than it needed to be given the large portion of the population that doesn’t believe in or care about vaccines, masking, or social distancing, instead falsely equating inconveniences with oppression and public health with politics. While your Schiller quote is spot on, I prefer the words of Robertson Davies who said, “There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • “I prefer the words of Robertson Davies who said, ‘There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.’”

            I hadn’t heard that quotation before, but it perfectly fits our times. I wish I knew how to convince the hold-outs.


            Liked by 1 person

  3. Joshua,

    I am saddened by the necessity of the decision, but I agree that it was the only one to make. Ecclecticisms’ point has merit, too, but it sounds as if perhaps Pelikan is working on something up that alley: “That phrase could be interpreted in several different ways; a new pen, a new ink, or some other community based measure.” Any Hub runners out there who might know more and could drop some tantalizing hints?

    Joshua, perhaps you have addressed this in a recent post that I’ve missed (I’m terribly behind on my e-mails), but may I ask how you are holding up?



    • Thank you for your concern, as always, Ruth. My profession and its associated fields will see years of psychological issues related to PTSD I’m sure. Personally, I have somewhat poor coping skills therefore choose to remain in “fight of flight” mode 24/7. If you never come down, you don’t really have to deal with the fall out. It has served me well thus far. I’m sure that there will be a price to pay at some point in the future. For now, it’s business as usual which means continuing to burn the candle at both ends. My eventual burnout is a foregone conclusion but hopefully enough loans will be paid down by then that I could start looking for an exit ramp.


      • Joshua,

        I have a feeling there are probably an army of therapists who would tell you that’s not the way to handle this situation, but I completely understand your choice — if it is even a choice. When the crash comes, let us know and I hope we can find some ways to help you and your family deal with the fallout. And if there’s anything we can do now, please speak up.


        • I appreciate the concern but assure you that I’m well inured to the horrors of my occupation. I have a thick rind on me. The pandemic has definitely had an impact but this too will pass one day like the pandemics that have come before.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s also nothing stopping us (except time and energy and Zoom exhaustion) from having our own local Zoom faux-hubs with folks we know. With a little forethought it could be fun. Keep the group small and make it a “potluck.” Exchange mailing addresses and have each person send everyone else paper or ink samples or some other pen surprise. Everyone can open them together on line.

    Or do Secret Pelikans. Each person has to send one other person a kit with, say, an ink sample, (a) paper sample(s), a sticker (or a drawing and a glue stick), and a hand-written note to be read aloud to the group.

    Activities could include worst handwriting with people’s dominant hands and best handwriting with non-dominant hands, some version of Pictionary, quick drawing prompts or lessons, watching relevant YouTube videos together (are there any movies in which fountain pens have a starring role? If not, why not?), or writing letters to members of the military, cancer patients, elderly folks in nursing homes, first/continuing responders. If any one knows how to get ink to stay in fabric, everyone could get a light-coloured mask and dye it with inks. Sharpies would work too. We could have doodling contests in which attendees take turns droning on about a topic while everyone else pretends to take notes but really doodles caricatures of Pelikans or pelicans or whatever comes to mind. Maybe we could send Pelikan notes telling them that, while we love the Hubs, we appreciate Pelikan’s decision to put safety and health first.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought long and hard about hosting a Zoom event my self in place of the Hubs for later this year. Kind of like a Pelikan’s Perch Presents…. I got concerned about the size that it might become and how unwieldy that might be. The logistics seemed a lot to manage so I haven’t pursued it. You’re suggestions are good but likely best implemented on a smaller scale.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think “Hubs” would only work for small groups, maybe four to six people. But a Perch Zoom would be fun; just not now. How about pondering a possible Post-Pandemic Pelikan Perch Presents Pens and People that’s just chat and confessions about how we all bought too much ink and maybe too many pens during the pandemic.


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