English PEN is the founding centre of International PEN, a membership association with 144 branches in more than one hundred countries, providing an active and supportive community for writers and readers around the world. PEN was founded in 1921 by Amy Dawson Scott in order to promote literature as a means of greater understanding between cultures. English PEN is governed by aboard of trustees which is elected from and by the members of English PEN. The President of English PEN is Lisa Appignanesi, and the Director is Jonathan Heawood.
English PEN fields one of International PEN’s largest Writers in Prison committees, working on behalf of persecuted writers around the world. In the United Kingdom, English PEN campaigns to improve the understanding of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.
English PEN are extremely proud of their public Events programme, ranging from large-scale public discussions and debates to more intimate talks and seminars. They also run the extremely successful Readers and Writers programme, founded in 2000, which promotes literacy and literature among socially excluded children, young people and adults. Most recently, they have launched a programme dedicated to supporting and promoting literary translation in the United Kingdom, Writers in Translation.
The support of English PEN’s members is enhanced by donations, corporate sponsorship and grants from charitable trusts and other funding bodies. You can make a donation here; or contact them about becoming a member.