Who We Are

PEN is a non-political organisation representing writers of the world, defending free-expression and encouraging literature. We live by a strong PEN Charter, which champions the ideal of “one humanity living in peace in one world”. Is this not an ideal to uphold for all people on all continents, including Africa?

Write! Africa Write! becomes a call for African writers to say what they wish to say and to eschew the divisions of the past in favour of the idea of one humanity living in peace on one continent. Originally PEN stood for Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Editors, and Novelists. A leading voice of literature, PEN now brings together poets, novelists, essayists, historians, playwrights, critics, translators, editors, journalists and screenwriters in a common concern for the craft and art of writing and a commitment to freedom of expression through the written word. Through its 145 Centres in more than 104 countries, PEN International operates on all six continents. The South African PEN Centre (PEN SA) is a branch of PEN International.

PEN SA welcomes new members – to qualify for membership you need to be a published writer (one literary work or more published by a recognised publisher) or a person deemed by the committee to be recognised as of sufficient standing. Membership of PEN SA is open to all South Africans, including non-South Africans permanently resident in South Africa. The committee is the final judge of any candidate for election to PEN SA. Candidates for membership are also required to agree to subscribe to the PEN Charter. If you are in agreement with the PEN Charter and would like to be considered for membership please email Deborah Horn-Botha information regarding your publication/s (your literary “CV”) and she will pass it on to the committee.