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Since its foundation, PEN Català has been a platform which projects writers and literature from the Catalan-speaking territories onto the international stage.  This has been done through its active participation in the objectives of PEN International, namely in defence of freedom of expression and the struggle to free all persecuted writers.

In 1922, one year after C. A. Dawson Scott founded PEN international in London, M. López-Picó and Carles Riba founded PEN Català, with the former acting as its first president.  Subsequent presidents include Pompeu Fabra, Josep Carner, J.V. Foix, Joan Oliver, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Jordi Sarsanedas, Dolors Oller and Carme Arenas. Currently, Àngels Gregori holds the presidency.

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Mission statement

  1. Literature knows no borders and should be preserved as an element of exchange between countries, regardless of political and international conflicts.
  2. In any circumstance, and particularly in a time of war, situations of national or political unrest must respect the works of art, that are the heritage of humanity.
  3. The PEN membership will always exert all possible influence in favour of understanding and mutual respect between nations and get involved to their full capabilities to dispel the hate between races, classes and nations, and to defend the ideal of a united mankind living in peace in the world.
  4. PEN defends the principle of free circulation of ideas in each country and between all countries. Its members commit to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country or to the community to which they belong, as well as all over of the world, wherever this may be.
  5. PEN defends freedom of the press and opposes arbitrary censorship in time of peace.
  6. PEN believes that the world’s necessary advance to a better form of political organisation and fairer economic system makes freedom to criticise governments, administrations and institutions, indispensable. Since freedom implies voluntary restrictions, members of PEN will commit to oppose distortions of free press such as deceptive publications, deliberate deceitfulness or falsehood and distortion of facts for political or personal purposes.

PEN is a world-wide organisation with more than 150 centres

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PEN International is the only world-wide writers’ organisation. Its objective is to promote both cooperation and intellectual understanding among writers in order to highlight the role literature plays in the development of culture in the world. At the same time, PEN is committed to defending it against any threat to its survival presented by modern life. As international cultural cooperation in the field of literature and the development of understanding cannot exist without freedom of expression, PEN acts as a powerful voice that opposes political censorship and speaks up for writers that suffer persecution, imprisonment and even murder, solely for expressing their opinions.

PEN International is a strictly non-political organisation that has a consultative status in both UNESCO and the group of UN organisations. It is made up of more than 150 centres situated in nearly 100 countries and membership is open to all writers who have published, regardless of nationality, culture, colour or religion. Each centre in every country works as an autonomous cultural and intellectual organization: they organise conferences and seminars independently and all centres are linked by means of PEN’s international secretariat based in London.

Visit PEN International website