One hundred years of protecting freedom of expression–literature knows no frontiers. This book tells the extraordinary story of how writers from around the world placed the celebration of literature and the defense of free speech at the center of humanity’s struggle against repression and terror.
“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, Vice President of PEN
“I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.”— - Harold Pinter, English PEN President and Literature Nobel 2005
“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, Independent Chinese PEN and Peace Nobel 2010
“I want you to know that your letters, which have rendered iron curtains meaningless and ineffective, have filled my two-steps’-long cell with resistance, resolve and hope...”— - Nedim Türfent, writing from a Turkish prison
“PEN has been instrumental in defending truth and facts. In fact, no other organization has done more to inoculate Americans against disinformation. No other organization has done more to protect the voices that the forces of racism and hatred seek to silence.”— - Stephen King
Carles Torner was PEN International Executive Director from 2014 to 2020 and is currently the director of the PEN Centenary. He has also participated in several missions for imprisoned writers.
Jan Martens is a publisher and co-founder, with Bato Tomasevic, of the Motovun Group of International Publishers.