Enthusiasm and energy have always been part of the Catalan PEN centre since its very birth. It is the encouragement of a literature that wants to be active and open and that is convinced, ultimately, that being part of the international writer’s club will not only be useful to create a platform for Catalan literature, but also demonstrates the signs of modernity of any culture. For this reason, the PEN Català has participated in most of the annual congresses, aside from the 1924 congress held in New York. Lluis Nicolau d’Owler has been the delegate for the Congress in Paris (1925); Joan Crexells  in Berlin (1926); Ventura Gassol  in Brussels (1927) and in 1928 Carles Riba, president of the Catalan PEN, Josep Obiol and the secretary, Millàs-Raurell, have attended the Congress celebrated in Oslo.

Twenty-six delegations of PEN are present in Oslo, clearly defining one of the theoretical central pillars of the association: it is literature and language that are represented, not countries or states. The delegates have been received by the Norwegian King Haakon VII, and amongst the distinguished participants you can find Jules Romains and Benjamin Cremier, as well as the founder of PEN, C.A. Dawson Scott, who everyone, as if it was a congregation, greets affectionately as ‘the mother’.

The Catalan trio have been surprised by the Norwegians’ gracious hospitality, the economic strength of the country and the trust they have between one another. Once back in Barcelona, the journalist of “La Veu de Catalunya” J. Navarro Costabella, interviews both Riba and Millàs-Raurell and echoes their confidence in the future of PEN.  We can see “a very vast perspective (…), because until now, the congress was more of a platonic thing. Now, however, it seems like they have started a more practical phase”. Furthermore, a new dynamic has been set in place and specific work is being developed, such as obtaining, from the league of Nations “the establishment of the International Prize in Literature” and from the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation, Geneva, that PEN International take part as an advisor in relation to translators and books to be translated.

Another highlight from Norway was “the fostering of relations between intellectuals and to have been understood. People are interested in our literature. What’s more; they know about it. By the way, when the question of regional literatures arose, ours was not alluded to because it was considered part of the European group.” [1]

[1] J. Navarro Costabella. El Congrés del “Pen Club” a Oslo. Conversa amb Carles Riba i Millàs-Raurell. “La Veu de Catalunya” (4-VII-1928), Matí, p. 5.