PEN Center USA’s mission is to stimulate and maintain interest in the written word, to foster a vital literary culture, and to defend freedom of expression domestically and internationally.



What is PEN Center USA?

PEN Center USA is a branch of PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization.

We are one of two PEN International Centers in the United States. The other is PEN America, in New York City. PEN Center USA is the third largest PEN International Center in the world and was founded in 1943 and incorporated as a nonprofit association in 1981.

Through Freedom To Write programming and events, PEN Center USA advocates for imprisoned, censored, and persecuted writers throughout the world, while cultivating and expanding a diverse and engaged literary community in the western United States. In that way we promote freedom of expression in the fullest sense of its meaning.

PEN Center USA’s membership of more than 800 writers includes poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists, as well as television and screenwriters, critics, historians, editors, journalists, translators, students, booksellers, and readers.

How can I receive news about PEN Center USA?

You can sign up to receive our bimonthly newsletter, ePEN, and event mailings. You can also follow PEN Center USA on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

How can I join PEN?

PEN Center USA offers membership at different levels to writers and readers. Learn more and join here.

How can I donate to PEN Center USA?

PEN Center USA gratefully accepts tax-deductible donations. Click here to donate.

I’m not a PEN Center USA member. Can I still attend your events?

Yes. Unless otherwise noted, PEN Center USA events are open to the public. Members will sometimes receive discounts on ticketed PEN Center USA events, as well as invitations to certain members-only events.

Can PEN Center USA help me find an agent or get published?

No. PEN Center USA cannot help you find an agent or get published.

Can PEN Center USA offer me legal advice?

No. PEN Center USA does not offer legal services to its members.

Can PEN Center USA produce a literary event for me?

No. PEN Center USA does not accept unsolicited literary event requests at this time.

PEN Center USA currently has two chapters, PEN Oakland and PEN Texas. Click the logos below to visit our chapters online. 

Support PEN Center USA today.