Outlined here are eight important moments that occurred during PEN’s first 25 years. All these and many others are treated in more depth and detail in the book PEN: An Illustrated History (Interlink Publishing, September 2021).
Above: English novelist and founding president John Galsworthy, PEN founder Catharine Amy Dawson Scott, and Hermon Ould.
October 5, 1921
CATHARINE AMY DAWSON SCOTT, a poet and novelist who was sometimes described as “unstoppable,” hosted the inaugural dinner of the PEN Club at the Florence Restaurant in London. More than 40 writers and guests enjoyed a six-course banquet in the chandeliered splendor of the main dining room. The urbane John Galsworthy, the first president, offered the toast. “We writers are in some sort trustees for human nature,” he said. “If we are narrow and prejudiced, we harm the human race. And the better we know each other […], the greater the chance of human happiness in a world not, as yet, too happy.