Galician PEN brief story


The first attempt to create a Galician section of the PEN International (founded by the English writer Amy Dawson Scott in London, 1921) took place on April 14th, 1977, in a meeting called by Bernardino Graña and Antón Santamarina in the Faculty of Philology of Santiago de Compostela, to which 47 writers attended. On 25th July of that same year, the Board of Directors was constituted (Eduardo Blanco-Amor, president; Bernardino Graña, vice president; Antón Santamarina, secretary; and Salvador García-Bodaño, treasurer), the statutes were approved and the entry to the 42nd International Congress, celebrated on December of the same year in Sidney,Australia, was requested. Despite the fact that the PEN Catalá supported the entry, it was not admitted by the General Assambly because an error of form.

On 15th February, 1989, by the initiative of Carlos Casares, Alfredo Conde and Luís González-Tosar a meeting is held in Vigo in which 27 Galician authors decided to send a second petition in order to create the PEN Clube de Galicia. It was agreed that Úrsula Heinze e Luís González-Tosar were the ones to attend in the role of observers to the 53rd International Congress, celebrated in Maastricht (Netherlands), from the 7th to the 12th of May. On May 10th, the proposal of integration of the Galician literature was debated by the Assembly and it was admitted unanimously. On 9th March, 1990, the Cultural Association PEN Clube de Galicia was constituted, nonprofit entity and conformed to the Statutes approved on 13th December of the same year, establishing a management commission integrated by: Alfredo Conde (president), Luís González-Tosar (secretary), Modesto Hermida (treasurer) and the spokepeople Carlos Casares, Úrsula Heinze and Helena Villar.

From the management commission, the institution was presided by Alfredo Conde (1990-1991), Úrsula Heinze (1991-1996) and Carlos Casares (1996-1999). Currently the Center PEN of Galicia has 96 members and it is represented by: Luís González Tosar (president), Úrsula Heinze (vice president), Luciano Rodríguez (secretary), Bieito Iglesias (treasurer) and the spokepeople Marilar Aleixandre, Inma Lopéz Silva, Manuel Guede, Luis Menéndez, Xosé Ramón Pena, Miguel Anxo Fernández Fernández and Armando Requeixo, being director Xabier Castro Martínez.

The most prominent purposes of the Galician PEN are the defence of the freedom of speech and the other duties that appear in the Letter of the International PEN, together with the promotion internally and externally of our language and our literature. On the sphere of the International PEN, currently presided by the Mexican Jennifer Clement, integrated by 150 centers in 106 countries, with about 30,000 writers, the Galician PEN organised, with great success, the 60th World Congress, which took place in Santiago de Compostela, from 6th to 12th September, 1993, and is collaborating with UNESCO, since 2001, in the World Poetry Day (March 21st). The Galician PEN was (in Santiago de Compostela and Ourense, from 2nd to 6th July, 2010) host of the II Conference of the Iberoamerican Fundation of PEN and seat as well of the Festival Libera a Palabra / Free the Word, in the frame of the Literary Biennal, organised since 2006. The Galician writers of PEN participate yearly on the international Congresses and take part as well in the working sessions of three Committees: Translation and Linguistic Rights, Prisoner Writers and Peace Writers.

In 1997 our Center participated in the redaction of the Declaration of the Linguistic Rights and Transalation, promoved by International PEN and UNESCO, updated on April 2011 (Girona's Manifest) and approved in Belgrade (September, 2011). On the field of promotion and diffusion of our literature, the Galician PEN organises, since 2002, the Poetry Award “Novacaixagalicia”, currently named Poetry Award “Afundación”, editing the Colecction “Arte de Trobar” of which 23 titles have been published, and since 2003, created the Award “Voz de Liberdade”, destined to award writers that had stood out by their defence of freedom of speech and opinion. In 1996, at the request of Carlos Casares, then the president of the Galician PEN, and Darío Villanueva, then Dean of USC, the Awards “Rosalía de Castro” are created, uniques of literary character that take the name of the symbol-writer of Galicia. The Awards were conceived to reward from the point of view of our arts, prominent writers in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalonian and Euskara. Organised every two years, these awards that have reached great renown and prestige, were conceded to great literary figures: José Saramago, Gonzalo Torrente-Ballester, Bernardo Atxaga, Joan Perucho, Manuel Vázquez-Montalbán, Juan Mari Lekuona, Ernesto Sabato, Sophia de Mello, Pere Gimferrer, José Ángel Valente, Antonio Gamoneda, Álvaro Mutis, Mía Couto, Francesc Parcerisas and many others that enobles us, acting as ambassadors of our literary nation. Francesc Parcerisas and many others that enobles us, acting as ambassadors of our literary nation.