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Our International Secretariat, based in central London, is staffed by a diverse and dedicated group that administer PEN International’s campaigns, programmes, events, communications and general affairs. The International Secretariat supports PEN Centres worldwide, helping them to be active and vibrant hubs for reading and writing in their countries, and helping them to connect to one another. We work closely with the Board and Centres.


Carles Torner, Executive Director

Carles Torner is a Catalan writer. He has been active in PEN International’s work for over twenty years; in that time he has served as a member of the board, chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee. He has also participated in several missions for imprisoned writers. He has published essays and poems about PEN’s defense of freedom of expression across the world.

Before joining PEN as Executive Director, he was director of  the Literature and Humanities Department at the Ramon Llull Institute, where he was in charge of the presence of Catalan literature as guest of honour at the Frankfurt book fair and the Guadalajara International book fair. He holds a PhD from the university of Paris VIII and is a lecturer in Communication and International Relations at Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, in Barcelona.
carles.torner [at] pen-international.org

Anne Muthee, Finance and Administration Director

Anne joined PEN International in April 2015 as the Finance and Administration Director. She manages the Finance, Human Resources and the IT functions of the organisation. Anne has over twenty years’ experience in Finance and Financial Management having worked in a number of charities, the most recent one being the Equal Rights Trust. Anne is also a treasurer of ‘Hekima’, a women’s group set up by Kenyan women in the UK to support children homes in Kenya.
Anne.muthee [at] pen-international.org

Romana Cacchioli, Director of International Programmes

Romana joined PEN International in March 2014 as Director of International Programmes. She manages the organisation’s work in delivering access to education, and human rights education, literary and civil society programmes across the world.

Romana has twenty years’ experience working in human rights, most recently with Anti-Slavery International where she led their Programmes and Advocacy team in advocating for reform in law and policy and seeking redress through national courts for those affected by slavery.  She led the development of local and grass roots organisations and movements to understand and claim their rights, including on access to quality education, and income generation activities for communities affected by slavery.
romana.cacchioli [at] pen-international.org

James Tennant, Literature & Partnerships Manager

James joined PEN in July 2012, originally as Literary Manager. He co-ordinates stakeholder partnerships – such as those with the Publishers and Writers Circles – publications and global events. He set up and managed PEN’s annual New Voices Award for unpublished authors.

James studied languages and comparative culture at Trinity College, Dublin, Salamanca and Cambridge. He also works as a journalist, editor and as a consultant for the European Commission, UNESCO & Arts Council England.

james.tennant [at] pen-international.org

Sarah Clarke, International Policy and Advocacy Manager 

Sarah leads PEN’s advocacy work on freedom of expression with the UN, regional human rights bodies and national governments. She leads on policy development across the organisation and frequently speaks about these issues at international conferences and to the media. A graduate of Oxford University and Trinity College Dublin, Sarah has previously worked in human rights research, policy, and advocacy with a number of UN agencies, NGOs and academic centres.
sarah.clarke [at] pen-international.org

Sahar Halaimzai, Communications & Campaigns Manager

Sahar joined the team in July 2012, and is responsible for running Communications and Campaigns activity across PEN International’s work globally. She co-ordinates media engagement with PEN’s literary and programmes output and works closely with members of the Writers in prison Committee to ensure that its key campaigns are communicated to a broad international audience.
sahar.halaimzai [at] pen-international.org

Sarah Perry, Global Campaign Manager

Sarah joined PEN International in July 2016 and will be responsible for PEN’s first single issue campaign uniting the global membership. Sarah is a writer with a background in gender equalities campaigning and community organising.
sarah.perry[at] pen-international.org

Cathy McCann, Writers at Risk Protection Manager 

Cathy is responsible for PEN International’s research and campaigning on attacks against free expression in the regions of Asia/Pacific and Middle East/North Africa.
Cathy.McCann [at] pen-international.org

Patricia Diaz, Writers at Risk Protection Officer

Patricia joined PEN International in 2007, as Research & Campaigns Assistant for Asia, MENA and Europe, for the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)  She has also assisted PEN’s work around the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the UN, led by the WiPC’s Programme Director. She currently works providing support to persecuted writers and assisting in the development of advocacy strategies to support and protect writers at risk. Prior to joining PEN, she gained experience working for five years for the Bolivian Human Rights Ombudsman, and worked for NGOs in Bolivia, her country of origin, and in the UK. She holds an LLM degree in human rights achieved after obtaining a Chevening Scholarship.
patricia.diaz [at] pen-international.org

Basim Mardan, Writers at Risk Protection Officer

Basim joined PEN International in July 2016 as Writers at Risk Protection Officer (Arabic Speaking). Basim is a former ICORN guest writer in Skien/Norway (2006-2008). Basim holds a bachelor degree in Arabic into English, English into Arabic Translation and Linguistics. In Iraq, he worked as an interpreter for the joint civil authority in Mosul, he published a book of poetry and wrote several articles for local newspapers, along with his involvement with civil society NGOs as a translator/editor and consultant.

During his stay in Norway (2006-2016) Basim Mardan published his poems and short stories in English and Norwegian alongside his constant participation in literary events and festivals. He has also cooperated as a translator with several ICORN guest writers and worked as a freelance translator/consultant for ICORN since 2009.
basim.mardan [at] pen-international.org

Josie OReilly, International Programmes Officer

Josie O’Reilly joined the team in April 2015, she currently works as the International Programmes Officer. As well as supporting the International Programmes Director to manage PEN’s Civil Society Programme as a whole, Josie also works closely with the regional coordinators and PEN centres to design and deliver individual projects. Josie is also gender focal point for the organisation and is leading a mainstreaming process which aims to integrate gender into PEN’s work.  A graduate of the London School of Economics and Trinity College Dublin, Josie speaks French, English and Spanish fluently. josie.oreilly [at] pen-international.org

Lianna Merner, Africa Programme Coordinator

Lianna joined the team in January 2015 as Africa Programme Coordinator, and is responsible for coordinating the work of the Africa programme. Prior to joining PEN she worked at Human Rights Watch as Senior Coordinator in the Africa division, where she focused on the Great Lakes region. She has spent time in northern Cameroon with VSO and she holds a postgraduate degree in human rights.
lianna.merner [at] pen-international.org

Emma Wadsworth Jones, Asia and the Middle East Programme Coordinator

Emma joined the team in October 2012 after completing a Masters in Comparative Politics (Latin America) at the LSE. Having worked for three years as a WiPC Research & Campaigns Assistant, covering Africa, Americas, Asia and MENA, she is now responsible for coordinating the Asia and Middle East programmes.
Emma.Wadsworth-Jones [at] pen-international.org

Jena Patel, Congress, Committees & Centres Coordinator

After working at PEN in 2011 on the 77th PEN Congress in Serbia, Jena re-joined the PEN team in May 2013. She is responsible for coordinating all aspects of PEN’s annual Congress, working with each host Centre from planning to implementation. Jena has experience in working in the field of human rights within both an NGO and inter-governmental setting. She holds a postgraduate degree in human rights.
Jena.patel [at] pen-international.org

Holly Strauss  Learning and Accountability Coordinator

Holly oversees PEN International’s monitoring, learning and impact assessment tools and systems. She works across the organisation to foster learning and build systems that tell the story of PEN’s impact at local, regional and international level. Holly joined PEN in 2013, previously as Communications and Fundraising Officer.
Holly.strauss [at] pen-international.org

Aurelia Dondo, Europe Programme Coordinator 

Aurelia joined PEN International in December 2016 and is responsible for coordinating the work of the Europe programme. Prior to joining PEN, she worked with Amnesty International in London, most recently as campaigner in the Middle East and North Africa programme, where she coordinated numerous campaigns on behalf of journalists, artists and bloggers prosecuted or jailed for peacefully expressing their views. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in European Studies.
Aurelia.Dondo [at] pen-international.org

Laura Petrecca, Campaigns and Communications Fellow 

Laura Petrecca joined PEN International in November 2016 as a Campaigns and Communications Fellow. Laura has published several collections of poetry and has also translated authors from French and English into Spanish, including a collection by the Nigerian poet Christopher Okigbo. Her experience in the field of human rights includes working for UNESCO in Ethiopia, where she produced a number of documentary films.
Laura.Petrecca [at]pen-international.org