|Motto||Poets, Essayists and Novelists|
|Purpose/focus||to promote friendship & intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere|
|President||John Ralston Saul|
PEN International (known as International PEN until 2010) is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. The association has autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries.
Other goals 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.
PEN originally stood for "Poets, Essayists and Novelists", but now includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians.
Role of PEN
PEN is a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO and Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
The first PEN Club was 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.
The club 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.
PEN International is headquartered in London and composed of autonomous PEN Centres in over 100 countries around the world, each of which are open to qualified writers, journalists, translators, historians and others actively engaged in any branch of literature, regardless of nationality, race, colour, or religion
PEN affiliated awards
The various PEN affiliations offer many literary awards across a broad spectrum.
Literature, national though it be in origin, knows no frontiers, and should remain common currency among nations in spite of political or international upheavals.
In all circumstances, and particularly in time of war, works of art and libraries, the heritage of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion.
Members of PEN should at all times use what influence they have in favor of good understanding and mutual respect among nations; they pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world.
PEN stands for the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and among all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in their country or their community.
PEN declares for a free press and opposes arbitrary censorship in time of peace. It believes that the necessary advance of the world toward a more highly organized political and economic order renders free criticism of governments, administrations, and institutions imperative. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, members pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood, and distortion of facts for political and personal ends...
Writers in Prison Committee
PEN International Writers in Prison Committee works on behalf of persecuted writers worldwide. Established in 1960 in response to increasing attempts to silence voices of dissent by imprisoning writers, the Writers in Prison Committee monitors the cases of as many as 900 writers annually who have been imprisoned, tortured, threatened, attacked, made to disappear, and killed for the peaceful practice of their profession. It publishes a bi-annual Case List documenting free expression violations against writers around the world.
PEN International Writers in Prison Committee is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global network of 90 non-governmental organisations that monitors censorship worldwide and defends journalists, writers, internet users and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
It is also a member of IFEX's Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of twenty-one free expression organisations that began lobbying the Tunisian government to improve its human rights record in 2005. Since the Arab Spring events that led to the collapse of the Tunisian government, TMG has worked to ensure constitutional guarantees of free expression and human rights within the country.
A grove of trees beside Lake Burley Griffin forms the PEN International memorial in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The dedication reads, "The spirit dies in all of us who keep silent in the face of tyranny." Officially opened on 17 November 1997.
A cast-iron sculpture entitled Witness, commissioned by English PEN to mark their 90th anniversary and created by Antony Gormley, stands outside the British Library in London. It depicts an empty chair, and is inspired by the symbol used for thirty years by English PEN to represent imprisoned writers around the world. It was unveiled on 13 December 2011.
Notable PEN members
Presidents of PEN International
|PEN International Presidents|
|John Galsworthy||1921 – 1932|
|H.G. Wells||1932 – 1935|
|Jules Romains||1936 – 1939|
|Wartime Presidential Committee: Denis Saurat, François Mauriac, Thornton Wilder, Hu Shih||1941 – 1946|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||1947 – 1949|
|Benedetto Croce||1949 – 1953|
|Charles Langbridge Morgan||1954 – 1956|
|Andre Chamson||1957 – 1959|
|Alberto Moravia||1960 – 1962|
|Victor E. van Vriesland||1963 – 1965|
|Arthur Miller||1966 – 1969|
|Pierre Emmanuel||1970 – 1971|
|Heinrich Böll||1972 – 1973|
|V.S. Pritchett||1974 – 1976|
|Mario Vargas Llosa||1977 – 1979|
|Per Wästberg||1979 – 1986|
|Francis King||1986 – 1989|
|René Tavernier||May – Nov 1989|
|Per Wästberg (Interim)||Nov 1989 – May 90|
|György Konrád||1990 – 1993|
|Ronald Harwood||1993 – 1997|
|Homero Aridjis||1997 – 2003|
|Jiri Grusa||2003 - 2009|
|John Ralston Saul||2009 -|
Presidents of the English PEN Centre
|English PEN Centre Presidents|
|John Galsworthy||1921 – 1932|
|H.G. Wells||1932 – 1936|
|Henry W. Nevinson||1938|
|Margaret Storm Jameson||1939 – 1944|
|Desmond MacCarthy||1945 – 1950|
|Veronica Wedgwood||1951 – 1957|
|Alan Pryce-Jones||1959 – 1961|
|Rosamond Lehmann||1962 – 1966|
|L. P. Hartley||1967 – 1970|
|V.S. Pritchett||1971 – 1975|
|Stephen Spender||1976 – 1977|
|Lettice Cooper||1977 – 1978|
|Francis King||1979 – 1985|
|Michael Holroyd||1986 – 1987|
|Antonia Fraser||1988 – 1990|
|Ronald Harwood||1990 – 1993|
|Josephine Pullein-Thompson||1994 – 1997|
|Rachel Billington||1998 – 2000|
|Victoria Glendinning||2001 – 2003|
|Alastair Niven||2004 – 2007|
|Lisa Appignanesi||2008 – 2010|
|Gillian Slovo||2010 -|
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange
- International PEN centers - 145+ PEN centers around the world.
- PEN literary awards - as awarded by and in conjunction with PEN centers around the world.
- Tunisia Monitoring Group
- "Our History". PEN International. 1995-11-10. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Robert Halsband (1968-01-10). "LeRoi Jones Sentence - Free Preview - The New York Times". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
- "Songs for Parents - About". Worldwideschool.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
- San Antonio Express-News - Factiva, from Dow Jones - October 30, 2005
- "PEN International – Writers in Prison Committee". Pen-international.org. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- PEN condemns persecution of writers in Vietnam[dead link]
- "PEN International – Case List". Pen-international.org. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "PEN International – Campaigns". Pen-international.org. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "members". IFEX. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Tunisia". IFEX. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Tunisia". IFEX. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "The British Library unveils new Antony Gormley sculpture to commemorate English PEN’s 90th anniversary". Pressandpolicy.bl.uk. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Mauthner, Martin (2007). German Writers in French Exile, 1933-1940 (1. publ. ed.). London: Valentine Mitchell. ISBN 978-0-85303-540-4..