The Committee presided over by Maria Aurèlia Capmany was formed of Santiago Pey as Vice-President, Àlex Brock as Secretary General, Joaquim Soler as Treasurer, Anton Carrera as Events Secretary and Joan Rendé in charge of press and publications. To this, Gabriel Janer Manila was added as Vice-President for the Balearic Islands. Having overcome the crisis, the new Committee will advance a programme based on establishing relations with other literatures, through participation in the tributes to Blas de Otero and Celso Emilio Ferreiro at the Sitges Theatre Festival of 1979; attending Slovakian PEN’s annual meeting in Bled for the first time; and by having an active presence in nearly all PEN International meetings. Thus, in 1979, Àlex Broch attended the 44th Congress in Rio de Janeiro and Marta Pessarrodona represented the Catalan PEN centre at the Assembly of Delegates in London. In 1980, in Bled, Àlex Broch, Joaquim Soler and Joan Rendé were invited to initiate a translation exchange process with Slovenian literature.

During May of that same year, Barcelona hosted a delegation of Flemish artists and intellectuals. The most noteworthy events during this visit a painting exhibition in the Palau de la Virreina, a recital of Flemish and Catalan poetry in the chapel of Santa Àgata and an issue of “Reduccions” magazine dedicated to Dutch poetry. In 1981 PEN Català attended the Assembly of Delegates in Copenhagen and the 45th Congress which was held in Lyon and Paris. It was in Copenhagen, in February 1981, when Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Àlex Broch received the news of the attempted coup d’état led by Colonel Tejero.

With regards to internal matters, it was a time in which of militant and political protagonists in Catalan literature and the historic context itself meant that it was of upmost importance to pay attention to cases of censorship, repression and other forms of violating people’s freedom and work, such as those of Manuel Viusà, Albert Boadella, Josep M. Batista i Roca, Montserrat Roig and Víctor Mora. In 1983, after signing an agreement with the Minister of Culture Max Canher, PEN Català’s headquarters were established on the fifth floor of the Ateneu Barcelonès.  This brought to a close the years of what had been essentially altruistic and voluntary work during which, in the words of the November issue of the “Full Informatiu” of the same year, “having to choose between ensuring our presence abroad or at home, we opted for the former, so that our activity and participation in PEN International’s projects were not compromised”.[1] Àlex Broch, Miquel Àngel Riera and Isidor Cònsul toast the developments during the 92nd Congress. At the organisation’s 1983 assembly, a new board is chosen, presided over by Jordi Sarsanedas with Joan Rendé as vice-president, Àlex Broch, continuing as secretary, and five further members: Anton Carrera, Lluís Urpinell, Francesc Parcerisas, Vicenç Altaió and Vicenç Villatoro. Changes in the Board between 1983 and 1992 saw the introduction of Xavier Bru de Sala (secretary between 1983 and 1988), Xavier Renau as treasurer, Isidor Cònsul (a member from 1985 to 1988 and secretary from 1988) as well as Julià Guillamón, Pilar Rahola, Antoni Morell, Agustí Ponts and Vinyet Panyella as general members. For his part, Jose Piera was nominated as vice-president for Valencia in 1987.

In the October of 1986 the centre’s new statutes are registered and a membership drive is implemented, reaching around two hundred members. In 1988 the reinstatement of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (Institute of Catalan Literature) permitted the Catalan PEN centre to receive an annual grant in order to meet its economic needs and so that it could start preparing the Congress of 1992.

From 1983 to 1992, PEN Català is organised around working in three areas, which will be its main guide lines for the next twenty years.

  1. Regular attendance at PEN International’s meetings and congresses.
  2. Gain prominence within the more dynamic committees of the international organisation, namely the Writers in Prison Committee and the Translations and Linguistic Rights Committee.
  3. Make the most of the international platform to project Catalan literature, establishing relations with other literatures and promoting an exchange of translations.

[1]  Josep S. Cid, The PEN Català Centre. 70 years of History. Barcelona, 1992 (p. 47).