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About the event

Launching of the book PEN International: An Illustrated History, the extraordinary story of how PEN International has placed the celebration of literature and the defense of free speech at the center of humanity’s struggle against repression since 1921. The book takes the reader through the key moments of PEN’s history over the last 100 years, in 320 pages and more than 500 pictures, letters, documents, posters and maps. From opposing book-burning and the persecution of writers in Nazi Germany, to supporting imprisoned writers across the world today, PEN has worked to safeguard against all kinds of censorship and self-censorship. The extraordinary writers who have been PEN cases include: Federico García Lorca, Stefan Zweig, Musine Kokalari, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Anna Politkovskaya, Hrant Dink and Svetlana Alexievich.

Introduced by Esther Allen, Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International 2015-2021, and Carles Torner, PEN’s Executive Director 2014-2020, both authors of the book, will narrate stories of the 100 years of PEN’s evolution illustrating them with pictures of missions, handwritten letters of prisoner writers and other crucial PEN documents.

Free and open to all, but please click here to Register for the event and for access to the Zoom link. Please write [email protected] to request any accessibility accommodations, and we will do our best to provide them.


Jennifer Clement and Carles Torner with the Dalay Lama in 2018

Delegates at the 1930 PEN Congress in Warsaw rafting on the Dunajec river on their free day


Click here to learn more about the PEN International: An Illustrated History, and watch the video preview below for more about the book.

Interior 2-page spread of "PEN International: An Illustrated History"





This event is organized by PEN International and co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

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