The Board of PEN International is elected by PEN Centres. It consists of a group of individuals from across the globe committed to representing and championing the views of PEN International, who believe that our organisation can make a vital contribution to literature and freedom of expression.
Meet our Executive Board
Jennifer Clement grew up in Mexico City, Mexico. She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French Literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.
Clement is the author three novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies and The Poison That Fascinates. Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Book, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE 2015 and the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award. The novel appeared internationally on many “Best Books of the Year” lists, including The Irish Times. She has also published of four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin). Clement is the author of the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat on New York City in the early 1980’s and the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. She has received an NEA Fellowship and is a member of Mexico’s prestigious “Sistema Nacional de Creadores”.
From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Mexico and her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists. Her writing and activism represent a lifelong commitment to honouring those silenced by gender, class and race.
Hori Takeaki – International Secretary
Hori Takeaki is a writer and anthropologist. He has published numerous works of non-fiction that focus on environmental, cultural and sociological issues, including Anthropological Practice and Beliefs of Japanese Fishery, Is a non Hegemonic World possible?, PEN can change the World and the co-authorship of The View from Prague: Experience of the World Leaders at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Read more…
Jarkko Tontti – Treasurer
Jarkko Tontti is a poet, novelist, essayist and lawyer and former President of Finnish PEN. He has published numerous works of fiction and collections of poetry.
Meet our Board Members
Teresa Cadete is an academic and a novelist. She is the President of Portuguese PEN Centre and Vice-Chair of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International. Read more…
Mr. Lee Gil-Won is a poet. He graduated from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea and worked for the monthly Women’s Life as the editor. Lee joined Korea PEN in 1993, and was elected as the president in 2009 after devoting himself to the development of the Korea PEN as auditor, director, chair of the planning committee, chief editor of PEN Literature magazine, and vice president. Korea PEN will host the 78th International PEN Congress in Seoul under his leadership. Read more…
Anders Heger is a writer, the director of the Norwegian publishing company Cappelen Damm and President of Norwegian PEN.
Mohamed Sheriff is President of Sierra Leone PEN. He writes short stories, novellas and drama for radio, TV and the stage. He produces and directs documentary videos, short films, radio, TV and stage plays for both entertainment and development projects. Read more…
In September 2003 he was a founder of the Trieste PEN Centre, of which he has been Secretary General, Vice President and is currently President.
Regula Venske is a scholar, novelist and essayist and general secretary of German PEN. Read more…
Non voting co-opted Board members
Eric Lax is a renowned author, perhaps best known for his biography of film maker Woody Allen. He has, however, written numerous books and his work is translated into 18 languages. Read more…
Elizabeth Hiester is qualified English lawyer. After teaching law at the University of Kent, Canterbury, she went on to become a partner with Clifford Chance, one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms. Her special area of practice was the development of law to meet the many different challenges of information technology and the digital age. She was a regular contributor to legal texts on issues of IT and communications law. She became a co-opted Board Member in 2012 to assist with the PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom and since then has provided input on a number of other legal aspects of PEN’s work. She is a member of the PEN International Lawyer Group. After retiring from Clifford Chance, she has worked on environmental issues with a particular focus on public access to information and justice and the impact of toxic chemicals on human health and the environment; most recently, with ClientEarth, a public interest environmental law organisation.