Freedom of speech


History of PEN

PEN International was founded in 1921 in London at the initiative of writers John Galsworthy and Catherine Amy Dawson Scott. PEN is an abbreviation, which stands for “poets”, “playwrights”, “essayists” and “novelists”. PEN has become one of the first international human rights organizations and the first international writers’ association. The key values of PEN are enshrined in its Charter ratified in 1948. PEN Ukraine was established in 1989.

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.