Since its inception, enthusiasm and energy have been part of PEN Català: Stimulating literature that aspires to be active and open and that is convinced, ultimately, that being part of the international writer’s club will not only be useful to create a platform for Catalan literature, but also demonstrates the signs of modernity of any culture. For this reason, the Catalan PEN centre has participated in the majority of annual congresses, with the exception of the 1924 congress held in New York. Lluis Nicolau d’Owler was the delegate for the Congress in Paris (1925); Joan Crexells in Berlin (1926); Ventura Gassol in Brussels (1927). In 1928, Josep Obiol and PEN Català’s president and secretary, Carles Riba and Millàs-Raurell, attended the Congress celebrated in Oslo.

There are 26 PEN delegations in attendance in Oslo, clearly demonstrating one of the theoretical central pillars of the association: it is literature and language that are represented, not countries or states. The delegates have been received by the Norwegian King Haakon VII and amongst the distinguished participants are Jules Romains and Benjamin Cremier, as well as the founder of PEN, C.A. Dawson Scott, who everyone, as if they were a family, greets affectionately as ‘the mother’.

The Catalan trio have been surprised by the Norwegians’ gracious hospitality, the economic strength of the country and the trust they have between one another. Once back in Barcelona, the journalist of “La Veu de Catalunya” J. Navarro Costabella, interviews both Riba and Millàs-Raurell and echoes their confidence in the future of PEN. We can see “a very vast perspective (…), because until now, the congress was more of a platonic thing. Now, however, it seems like they have started a more practical phase”. Furthermore, a new dynamic has been set in place and specific work is being developed, such as obtaining, from the league of Nations “the establishment of the International Prize in Literature” and from the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation, Geneva, that PEN International act in an advisory capacity with regards to translators and books to be translated.

Another highlight from Norway was “the fostering of relations between intellectuals and to have been understood. People are interested in our literature. What’s more; they know about it. By the way, when the question of regional literatures arose, ours was not alluded to because it was considered part of the European group.” [1]

[1] J. Navarro Costabella. El Congrés del “Pen Club” a Oslo. Conversa amb Carles Riba i Millàs-Raurell. “La Veu de Catalunya” (4-VII-1928), Matí, p. 5.