Without literature, there can be no meaningful freedom of expression. Without freedom of expression, there can be no meaningful literature…
PEN New England is our region’s branch of PEN American Center. Together with our colleagues in the international PEN community, we celebrate literature and freedom of expression. Our programs showcase great writers and the free and open exchange of ideas with an emphasis on our region’s special significance to the roots and tradition of our core values.
PEN International is a worldwide association of writers who believe that literature and freedom of expression are at the heart of a strong and vibrant society. The P.E.N. Club was founded in 1921 and the name was conceived as an acronym: "Poets, Essayists, Novelists." Currently there are 145 PEN centers in 102 countries.
The P.E.N. American Center was founded in New York City in the spring of 1922. A year earlier in London, the first seed of building an international organization had been sown: Mrs. C. A. Dawson Scott, a Cornish novelist, and John Galsworthy, a well-known literary figure, together founded the first P.E.N. organization, and decided to call it “The P.E.N. Club.” This Club was borne out of Mrs. Dawson Scott’s “unshakable conviction that if the writers of the world could learn to stretch out their hands to each other, the nations of the world could learn in time to do the same.” The idea could not have come at a more appropriate time, as bitter hatred existed between the nations following the First World War. Founding members included Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells.
Board of Directors
Thomas D. Herman
Helen Elaine Lee