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Annual Congress

Lviv 2017 | Credit Serg Bobra

The annual PEN Congress offers an opportunity for the entire PEN community to gather and speak about our work. Officially, it is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the international office of PEN, but its importance extends far beyond this function. The Congress helps us strengthen our networks and connections; reinforce and refine our core principles through discussion, debate and pass resolutions; exchange experiences and ideas; celebrate writing in all its forms; and simply catch up with old and new friends and colleagues.

Each Congress is hosted by a PEN Centre that works with the international office to develop a programme of literary events alongside the AGM which is reflective of PEN’s diverse membership. Every Congress is also given a thematic focus, which is decided by the host PEN Centre and often reflects issues that are of utmost importance to the members of that particular Centre. Recent themes have included ‘Reclaiming Truth in Times of Propaganda’ (Lviv 2017, hosted by PEN Ukraine), ‘Experiments with truth’ (Pune, India 2018, hosted by South India PEN), ‘Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom and the Indigenous Languages’ (Manila 2019, hosted by PEN Philippines). The previous two Congresses were hosted by PEN International and held online: Freedom of Expression in the Times of Pandemic (2020) and PEN International Centenary Congress: 100 years of celebrating literature and protecting freedom of expression (2021).

If your Centre is interested in hosting a future Congress, or for any further information please contact Olha Mukha:

Congress 2022

The 88th PEN International Congress will be hosted by Swedish PEN and held in Uppsala, Sweden from 27th September – 1 October 2022.

Further information will be posted here in due course.