PEN International © 2017
Terms & Conditions | Privacy Statement

PEN International: An Illustrated History

Literature knows no frontiers / 100 years protecting the freedom of expression.

PEN International: An Illustrated History (Hardback)

Carles Torner (editor and author), Jan Martens (editor), Ginevra Avalle (author), Jennifer Clement (author), Peter McDonald (author), Rachel Potter (author), Laetitia Zecchini (author)

Book Size: 24 x 30 cm
Pages: 320
Illustrations: about 500
Format: Hardback
Imprint: PEN International-MGIP

About this book

Published as part of PEN International’s Centenary celebrations, PEN International: An Illustrated History is the extraordinary story of how PEN has placed the celebration of literature and the defence 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.

Those writers’ voices, and those of the many others who have battled to uphold the opening phrase of PEN’s Charter— “Literature knows no frontiers”—are still very much with us. Their fortitude has made PEN International the strong, vibrant, active movement it is today. Their stories are told in this book, illustrated by unique archive photographs and documents.

«My respect for this organization has no borders... PEN has been so fierce, so consistent and ferocious in its efforts that it is hard to ignore their worldwide impact» Toni Morrison

«Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth» Liu Xiaobo

Edited by Carles Torner and Jan Martens

Carles Torner was PEN International Executive Director from 2014 to 2020.

Jan Martens is a publisher and co-founder, with Bato Tomasevic, of the Motovun Group of International Publishers.

Authors: Ginevra Avalle, Jennifer Clement, Peter McDonald, Rachel Potter, Carles Torner, Laetitia Zecchini.


Explore the PEN Illustrated Blog! Down arrow


Follow PEN Illustrated's blog through book launches, interviews, blog posts, and more!