About English PEN

English PEN is the founding centre of a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries. We are also a founding member of the Free Word Centre.

We campaign to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.

We work to remove inequalities, where they exist, which prevent people’s enjoyment and learning from literature. We match writers with marginalised groups such as people in prisons in the UK, in refugee or detention centres and young people in disadvantaged areas, opening minds to reading and creative writing.

We facilitate and promote translation into English of published work in foreign languages we consider to be of outstanding literary merit. We celebrate writing of merit and courage through introducing UK audiences to new and acclaimed authors and awarding prizes for achievement.

We are supported by our active membership of literary professionals and friends as well as by the generosity of individual donors, corporate sponsors and grants from trusts and foundations, including Arts Council England.

English PEN is governed by a board of trustees which is elected from and by members and chaired by Maureen Freely. The President of English PEN is Philippe Sands and the Director is Antonia Byatt.