1973: It is only two years until the death of the dictator and the Francoist regime is starting to dissolve. Preparations to initiate the process towards a democratic transition are underway. Avel·lí Artís-Gener ‘Tísner’ and Josep M. Batista Roca, representing Catalan writers, have met in London and decided to return to the Catalan PEN centre in order to legalise it so that it might serve as a tool to revitalise Catalan literature. In the fourth volume of his memoirs, Viure i creure (To live and believe), ‘Tisner’ will explain in his own words details of the trip to England, previous conversations with Batista i Roca and the tense last interview with Peter Elstob, Elizabeth Paterson and the implacable Batista i Roca.

A clandestine assembly for the reorganisation of PEN in Catalonia has been prepared for the 4th February 1973. As a product of imagination and caution, the assembly takes place on a tourist bus on route from Barcelona to L’Espluga del Francolí. An executive committee is established; presided over by Joan Oliver, with Maurici Serrahim as vice-president, ‘Tisner’ as secretary, and Joan Fuster and Josep M.Llompart are named as the representatives of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Young writers such as Josep M. Benet i Jornet, Guillem-Jordi Graells, Maria Antònia Oliver and Montserrat Roig, will also join the committee. ‘Tisner’ writes that the writers that were on the bus “receive the request to count and announce the results of the recount. Now, I should explain how the new committee has been constituted, but since I am part of it, I will abstain myself(…) I will only mention one name with which I start and end a relationship: Joan Oliver i Sellarés, the first President of the Catalan PEN centre in its reinstatement during the Franco regime”[1]

[1] Avel·lí Artís-Gener, “Tísner”, Viure i veure/4. Pòrtic. Barcelona, 1996 (p. 113).