What is PEN Ukraine?

What is PEN Ukraine?

The PEN Charter History of PEN What is PEN Ukraine? Documents

1. What does "PEN" mean?

"PEN" is an abbreviation for the English words "poets", "playwrights", "essayists" and "novelists" - "poets", "playwrights", "essayists" and "novelists". In English, the word "pen" means "pen".

2. For what purpose was PEN created?

The International PEN Club was founded in 1921 in London at the initiative of writers John Galsworthy and Catherine Amy Dawson-Scott. Galsworthy became the organization's first president, and its first members included Herbert Wells, Bernard Shaw and Joseph Conrad.

PEN became one of the first international human rights organizations, as well as the first international writers' association. The main values of the PEN are enshrined in its Charter, which was ratified in 1948. PEN opposes all forms of discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression, promotes understanding between peoples and protects the cultural heritage of mankind.

In the 21st century, PEN centers have stopped using the word "club" in their names, which indicates the closed nature of the organization. That is why today it is correct to speak International PEN and PEN Ukraine.

3. What is the structure of PEN in the world?

Today, there are 146 national PEN centers in the world. The International PEN Headquarters, which coordinates and advises other centers, is located in London. The largest PEN center in the world is the American one, with 7,200 members.

Priorities in the activities of national PEN centers can be determined by the cultural and political situation in a particular country.

Every autumn, the International PEN organizes a PEN Congress in one of the world's countries, bringing together leaders and members of other national PEN centers to re-elect international leadership and adopt PEN human rights resolutions. In 2017, the International PEN Congress was held for the first time in Ukraine (Lviv), in 2018 - in India (Pune).

4. Since when has PEN existed in Ukraine?

PEN Ukraine was founded in 1989 and accepted into the International PEN in 1990. The first president of PEN Ukraine was Mykola Vingranovsky (1989-1993), then PEN in Ukraine was headed by Yevhen Sverstyuk (1993-2010). In 2010, with the election of Myroslav Marynovych, a human rights activist and publicist, PEN Ukraine began to conduct systematic literary and human rights activities in Ukraine and abroad. In 2014, Mykola Ryabchuk was elected President of PEN Ukraine, and in December 2018, Andriy Kurkov was elected.

5. Who can become a member of PEN Ukraine?

Since the founding of PEN, when it included only writers, the circle of potential members of the organization has expanded. The main criteria for joining PEN are to share the values of the organization listed in its Charter, and to have the desire to promote the development of literature and protect freedom of speech in Ukraine and the world. Therefore, PEN Ukraine today includes not only writers, but also human rights activists, translators, journalists, humanities scholars, publishers and cultural managers - a total of 140 members .

6. How to join PEN Ukraine?

According to the Statute of PEN Ukraine, the decision to admit new members is made by the Executive Council, which invites potential members to join the organization. Following the invitation of the Executive Board, each new member must submit two recommendations from other full members of PEN Ukraine.

You can inform about your wish to join PEN at ukraine.pen@gmail.com, sending also your bio- and bibliography.

7. What is the activity of PEN Ukraine?

The activities of PEN Ukraine are aimed primarily at protecting freedom of speech and copyright, promoting the development of literature and international cultural cooperation. PEN in Ukraine organizes human rights campaigns, initiates the writing of open letters and appeals related to the violation of the rights and freedoms of authors. In addition, PEN Ukraine has its own awards - the Yuri Shevelyov Prize for the best Ukrainian book of essays and the Vasyl Stus Prize for special contribution to Ukrainian culture and stability of citizenship. PEN has also established the Kharkiv Literary Residence, the PEN Discussion Club, and organizes the annual meeting of Central and Eastern European PEN Centers in Ukraine.

8. Does PEN Ukraine publish and translate books?

No, PEN Ukraine does not publish or translate books. In addition, PEN supports translation activities and organizes separate translation projects. In particular, in 2018, together with the Renaissance Foundation, PEN Ukraine announced a program of mini-grants PEN Ukraine Translation Fund Grants, which supported the translation of a book of short stories by Oleg Sentsov in English, German and Polish. Also, PEN does not publish its own books, but gives the stamp "Library of PEN Ukraine" to publications published with its organizational or curatorial support.

9. Who finances PEN Ukraine?

Ukrainian PEN is a non-profit organization that exists through the contributions of its members and the support of individual donors and donors.

10. How does PEN Ukraine differ from other professional literary associations?

The main criterion for joining the PEN is not the number of books published or even the recommendations of colleagues, but a statement in which the future member of the organization promises to adhere to the principles listed in the PEN Charter. By joining the PEN, its members undertake to do everything possible to develop literature and resist all forms of oppression of freedom of speech and expression in Ukraine and around the world. The main question in PEN is "What can I do for others?", Not what "PEN can do for me?" Therefore, unlike other professional organizations, PEN is based primarily on common values.