From 1996 onwards, participation within the Committee was intensified thanks to the presence of Carles Torner in the international secretariat and with Rosa Igartua, who substituted Xavier Renau as its coordinator.
After the celebration of the World Conference on Linguistic Rights, a generational replacement took place within the governing board. Isidor Cònsul took over as vice-president until 2002 and the position of secretary was first held by Carles Tornar and afterwards by Sam Abrams. The following names would all be members of the board at one point or another: Maria-Mercè Marçal, Jaume Subirana, Francesc Marc Àlvaro, Lluïsa Julià, Araceli Bruch, Enric Sòria and Rosa Igartua, amongst others, while Àngel Terron, Vicenç Calonge, J.F. Mira and Vicent Alonso were the representatives for the Balearic Islands and Valencia.
During these years, the Catalan PEN centre has consolidated its work with the creation of a Committee of External Projection, the new dynamism achieved by the Writers’ Committee with the aforementioned activities, and a new attitude within the Writers in Prison Committee. Having been admitted to the Writers in Prison Committee in 1987, the Catalan PEN centre, coordinated by Xavier Renau, worked tirelessly to free some of those writers imprisoned around the world for reasons of conscience (such as Ariel Hidalgo Guillen, Ersin Ergün Keles, Alaa Hamed, Ali Idrissi Kaitouni, Wang Juntao and Roderic Rousham Roberts).
The last few years have been marked by an internal crisis in PEN International. During the Congress of 1996, in Guadalajara, Mexico, a major change was implemented in PEN International’s direction: the substitution of the secretary Alexandre Blohk who, in addition to having been the international secretary for the last twenty years, was amongst those most influential within the General Assembly of Delegates. His dismissal facilitated the creation of an executive and multimember secretary with Carles Torner becoming one of its members. Consequentially, Sam Abrams substituted Carles Torner in his position as secretary and during the brief period under his coordination the Catalan PEN centre was filled with activities and public events (exhibition of Joan Oliver “Pere Quart” poems in his centenary year; a public reading of Josep Palau i Fabre’s Poemes de l’alquimista in Las Rambles; a public celebration of the “Day of the imprisoned writer”, and others), until the crisis also affected the Catalan PEN centre. Several problems, particularly those related to the difficulty of establishing good communication with the Writers’ Committee, led both Sam Abrams and Rosa Igartua to resign in early 2001. In order to overcome the crisis, all the members of the board placed their positions at the disposal of the president Jordi Sarsanedes, who appointed a crisis cabinet formed by himself, Isidor Cònsul and Carles Torner. They tried to successfully handle the situation during the General Assembly, held in June 2001.
A new governing board, markedly different from the previous one, was appointed during this Assembly. Dolors Oller became president; Isidor Cònsol, vice-president (but only until the assembly of 2002); Carme Arenas, the new general secretary; Isidre Grau, treasurer; and Carles Torner, Jaume Subirana, Ramon Pla i Arxé, Núria Pompeia and Montserrat Abelló acted as board members. It is the first board of the 21st century and the one responsible for steering the Catalan PEN centre as the third millennium dawns. It must do this by participating in PEN International’s internal debate, making the most of the platforms to project Catalan literature, setting up links and projects with other literatures and projecting Catalan literature as one which is open and modern: This is the way forward for the Catalan PEN centre. These are the core ideas, very similar to those which brought together Josep M. López-Picó, Joan Crexells, Josep Millàs-Raurell, Josep M. Batista i Roca and the English professor, believed to be John Langdon-Davies, around the table at the Ritz on 19th April 1922.