The new authors’ association PEN Berlin, founded after conflicts in the German PEN Centre (Darmstadt), turned one year old on 10 June. To mark its first birthday, the association held a digital general meeting and elected 85 new members, including the writers Esther Kinsky, Tanja Schwarz and Koschka Linkerhand, the journalists Michael Wuliger, Stephan Lebert und Harald Martenstein, the non-fiction writers Gerd Koenen and the publishers Nicole Bartels, Felicitas von Lovenberg und Karsten Kredel as well as several colleagues with a mother tongue other than German: Filipp Dzyadko (Russia), Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus (Israel), Tien-Chi Martin Liao (China), Ali Fathollah-Nejad (Iran), and Sam Zamrik (Syria).
This brings PEN Berlin, which prides itself on its diverse membership in every respect, to almost 600 members. In autumn, the association aims to become a member of PEN International.
The spokespeople Eva Menasse and Deniz Yücel reported on successful campaigns in recent months (including »Fire trucks for Kharkiv«, and »Mullahs don’t you dare« for two Iranian rappers), on a generous private donation that will soon enable the association to hire an executive director, and on the many and flexible efforts to help colleagues who have fled to Germany in the best possible way. The development work and professionalisation of the association is progressing. The date for the next, second cultural congress of PEN Berlin was mentioned as 16 December.
PEN Berlin. We stand by our word.