PEN History

The P.E.N. (poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists) American Center was founded in New York City in the spring of 1922. A year earlier in London, the first seed of building an international organization had been sown: Mrs. C. A. Dawson Scott, a Cornish novelist, and John Galsworthy, a well-known literary figure, together founded the first P.E.N. organization, and decided to call it “The P.E.N. Club.” This Club was borne out of Mrs. Dawson Scott’s “unshakable conviction that if the writers of the world could learn to stretch out their hands to each other, the nations of the world could learn in time to do the same.” The idea could not have come at a more appropriate time, as bitter hatred existed between the nations following the First World War.