The Catalan PEN is our partner in Barcelona for the Shahrazad project.
The Catalan PEN is an association of writers created in 1922, a year after English writer CA Dawson Scott founded the English PEN Centre in London. Taking the initials of the English words "Poets, Essayists, Novelists", Dawson created PEN with the desire that it would be a place of debate for writers. Currently, there are about 140 PEN centres around the world connected to each other through PEN International based in London. The boundaries of PEN centres are not set by the political margins of the member states, but each centre is grouped around a particular language and literature.
Since its founding, the Catalan PEN has become a platform for the international projection of literature and writers of Catalan-speaking regions.This has been done internationally through its active involvement in the activities of PEN International, mainly the defence of freedom of expression and freedom of ideas, as well as the protection of cultural and linguistic heritage of individuals and peoples.
Refuge Writer Programme
The Catalan PEN, with the support of the Catalan Government through the Catalan Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Municipality of Barcelona and Foundations Caixa de Sabadell and Caixa de Girona, has launched the Refuge Writer Programme. This programme aims to accommodate, for a maximum period of two years, a writer threatened, persecuted or at risk of being imprisoned as a result of his or her writing.
Barcelona was one of the first cities to integrate the former Network of Cities of Asylum, founded in 1994 by the International Parliament of Writers, and legally dissolved in 2005 because of various matters of legal and bureaucratic nature. During that period, Barcelona hosted two writers: the Albanian Bashkim Shehu and the Cuban Rolando Sanchez Mejias. Sabadell also joined the network and gave asylum to the Congolese filmmaker Gilbert Nsangata and the Cuban writer Rogelio Saunders.
On May 24, 2001, the Parliament of Catalonia declared Catalonia as a community of shelter, and committed to give refuge to persecuted writers.