English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, a world-wide association of writers and literary professionals, campaigning for free expression, literacy, and literature accross frontiers. The organisation was founded in 1921.
The organsiation operates in several areas:
- A programme of literacy projects, working with schools, youuth groups, UK prisons, migrant centres, care homes, and with returning soldiers.
- A translation programme funded by Arts Council England and Bloomberg.
- Literary events and prizes
- International free speech campaigns on behalf of persecuted writers
- Campaigns to expand human rights and the space for free expression in the UK.