The Committee presided over by Maria Aurèlia Capmany had Santiago Pey as Vice-President, Àlex Brock as Secretary General, Joaquim Soler as Treasurer, Anton Carrera as Secretary in charge of activities, Joan Rendé who is responsible for press and publications, and Gabriel Janer Manila was added as Vice-President for the Balearic Islands. Having overcome the crisis, the new Committee will accelerate a programme based on establishing relations with other literatures, through participation in the tributes to Blas de Otero and Celso Emilio Ferreiro at the Sitges Theatre Festival of 1979, by going for the first time to the Slovakian PEN’s annual meeting in Bled and by having an active presence in nearly all PEN International meetings. Thus, in 1979, Àlex Broch attended the 44th Congress in Rio de Janeiro and Marta Pessarrodona represented the Catalan PEN centre at the Assembly of Delegates in London. In 1980, in Bled, Àlex Broch, Joaquim Soler and Joan Rendé were invited to initiate the first steps in exchanging translations with Slovenian literature.

During May of that same year, Barcelona hosted a delegation of Flemish artists and intellectuals. The most significant events being: a painting exhibition in the Palace of the Virreina, a recital of Flemish and Catalan poetry in the chapel of Santa Àgata and an issue of the “Reduccions” magazine, dedicated to Dutch poetry. In 1981, the centre attended the Assembly of Delegates in Copenhagen and the 45th Congress that was held in Lyon and Paris. It was in February 1981, when Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Àlex Broch received, in Copenhagen, the news about colonel Tejero’s coup d’état attempt.

Regarding internal matters, the years were militant and political protagonists in Catalan literature and the historic context itself meant that it was of upmost importance to pay attention to cases of censorship, repression and other forms of violating people’s freedom and work, such as those of Manuel Viusà, Albert Boadella, Josep M. Batista i Roca, Montserrat Roig and Víctor Mora. In 1983, after signing an agreement with the Minister of Culture Max Canher, the headquarters were established on the fifth floor of the Ateneu Barcelonès. The years of essentially altruistic and voluntary work were coming to an end, furthermore, in the words of the November issue of the “Full Informatiu” of that same year: “having to choose between ensuring our presence abroad or at home, we opted for the former, so that our activity and participation in PEN International’s projects were not compromised”.[1] Àlex Broch, Miquel Àngel Riera and Isidor Cònsul drink a toast during the 92nd Congress. At the assembly of 1983, a new board was chosen, presided over by Jordi Sarsanedes, with Joan Rendé as vice-president, Àlex Broch, who continued as secretary, and five members: Anton Carrera, Lluís Urpinell, Francesc Parcerisas, Vicenç Altaió and Vicenç Villatoro. Changes in the Board between 1983 and 1992 saw the introduction of Xavier Bru de Sala (secretary between 1983 and 1988), Isidor Cònsul (a member from 1985 to 1988 and secretary as of 1988) as well as Julià Guillamón, Pilar Rahola, Antoni Morell, Agustí Ponts and Vinyet Panyella as members, and finally Xavier Renau as treasurer. For his part, Jose Piera was nominated as vice-president of the Valencian Country in 1987.

In the October of 1986 the centre’s new statutes are registered and a membership drive is implemented, reaching to around two hundred members. In 1988, the restoration of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (Institute of Catalan Literature) permitted the Catalan PEN centre to receive an annual grant in order to meet its economic needs and so that it could start preparing the Congress of 1992.

From 1983 to 1992, PEN Català organised itself in three areas which will be its main guide lines for the next twenty years.

  1. Regular attendance at PEN International’s meetings and congresses.
  2. Gain prominence within the more dynamic committees of the international organisation, namely the Writers in Prison Committee and the Translations and Linguistic Rights Committee.
  3. Make the most of the international platform to project Catalan literature, establishing relations with other literatures and promoting an exchange of translations.

[1]  Josep S. Cid, The PEN Català Centre. 70 years of History. Barcelona, 1992 (p. 47).