Freedom of speech


About PEN

Ukrainian PEN Club is a part of the network of the international PEN centers whose activity is based on the 1921 PEN Charter and aims at protection of freedom of speech and expression, support for imperiled and persecuted authors, defense of language and cultural rights, and promotion of humanistic values through culture and literature. Besides the watchdog activity, the Ukrainian PEN Center organizes literary readings and topical panel discussions, including the annual meetings of the representatives of the Central East European PEN Centers; supports Ukrainian authors’ participation in literary festivals, book fairs, and other cultural events; administers national part of the international “New Voices” literary competition, and bestows annually the Yuri Shevelov national award for the best essays and the Vasyl Stus award for the intellectual courage. In 2017, the Ukrainian PEN Center hosted the 83rd Congress of the PEN International in Lviv.

Main goals and principles

PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. Founded in 1921, PEN International connects an international community of writers from its Secretariat in London. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. Through Centres in over 100 countries, PEN operates on five continents. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO.