The dining room of the Ritz Hotel. The founding dinner of the Catalan branch of the PEN Club is taking place. The group of people is so small that they barely number a half-dozen. Josep M. López-Picó, who reported on the act in his diary, is present, as well as Joan Crexells, the young humanist who, according to Josep Pla, is one of those people who inspires envy envy and excitement among others (“he is possibly the nicest, the most cultivated, the most complete, one of nature’s young (very young) creations; truly a breath of fresh air”)[1]. Also present are Josep M. Batista i Roca and Josep Millàs-Raurell would become, until 1939, the secretary of the organisation that was about to be created. The last of the group is the poet and English Professor John Langdon-Davis who had arrived in Catalonia a year earlier and is preparing an anthology of Catalan poets to translate to English.

There are a few notable absences from the dinner. One of these is the Ribas – Carles Riba and Clementina Arderiu – who are not present due to unforseeable circumstances.  They have been in Germany for the last few weeks, where they will remain for the rest of the year.  Having received an internship fom the Pedagogy Council of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya (Commonwealth of Catalonia), Riba wants to visit Karl Vossler’s faculty, where he inadvertently also discovers Hölderlin’s poetry. A year later, in April 1923, PEN Català holds a Meeting with all of its membres present, of which there are already 22, including Carles Riba and Clementina Arderiu, as well as other important names such as Josep M. de Sagarra, Joan Puig i Ferrater, Carles Soldevila and Pompeu Fabra, who is chosen as the organisation’s president.

[1] Josep Pla, Homenots. Primera sèrie. In Obra Completa de Josep Pla. Volum XI. Editorial Destino. Barcelona, 1969 (p. 435-471).