English PEN is the founding centre of PEN International, a membership association which promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read.
PEN has 144 branches in more than 100 countries, providing an active and supportive community for writers and readers around the world. Through its Writers in Prison programme, English PEN works to defend persecuted and imprisoned writers around the world. The Writers in Public programme organises events ranging from discussions and debates to talks and seminars, many of which are held at the Free Word Centre. The Readers and Writers programme promotes literacy and literature among socially excluded children, young people and adults, and the Writers in Translation programme supports literary translation in the UK.