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Romana Cacchioli
Director of International Programs, PEN International Read More ...
Jennifer Clement
International President, PEN International Read More ...
Writers and Human Rights
Romana Cacchioli
Director of International Programs, PEN International

Cacchioli joined PEN International in March 2014 as Director of International Programs. She manages the organisation´s work in delivering access to education, and human rights education, literary and civil society programs across the world. Cacchioli has twenty years of experience working in human rights, most recently with Anti-Slavery International where she led their Programs 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.

Jennifer Clement
International President, PEN International

Jennifer Clement grew up in Mexico City. She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and French Literature in Paris. She holds 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 an Editor’s Choice book on the New York Times Book Review, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lycéennes 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. Clement has published four books of poetry, including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin) and 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.

Antonio Della Rocca
Board Member, PEN International

Antonio Della Rocca graduated in political science from the University of Trieste. He is a Certified Public Accountant. In 1963, he started what he likes to call his first career in the management of companies in Italy and abroad. He is fluent in Spanish, French, German and English and has a limited knowledge of Russian. In 1999, Della Rocca came back to Trieste and decided to make literature his main interest. He has published four novels and a collection of poems.  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.

Anders Heger
Board Member, PEN International

Anders Heger is a writer, Director of the Norwegian publishing company Cappelen Damm and President of Norwegian PEN.

Elizabeth Hiester
Board Member, PEN International

Elizabeth Hiester is a 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

Iman Humaydan
Board Member, PEN International

Iman Humaydan is a novelist, activist and founder of Arrawi, a non-profit center for marginalized youth in Lebanon. Her novels B Mithl Beit, Mithl Beirut (B as in Beirut), Toot Barri (Wild Mulberries), Hayawat Okhra (Other Lives) and Khamsoun ghraman mena aljannah (Weight of Paradise) have been published in Arabic, French, German, English, Italian and Dutch. Her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in German, Swiss, French, and Arab newspapers and magazines. Humaydan co-wrote the screenplay for Chatti ya Deni (Here Comes The Rain), which won the first prize at the 2010 Dubai Film Festival, and the documentary film Asmahan, Une Diva Orientale, and edited the creative writing textbook Kitabat alkitabah (2010). She also edited Beirut Noir, which was published in 2015 by Akashic Books. The writer served as the co-founder of PEN Lebanon in 2012, and PEN Lebanon president since 2015. At present, Humaydan teaches creative writing in Paris 8 University in France.

Kätlin Kaldmaa
International Secretary, PEN International

Kätlin Kaldmaa is an Estonian poet, writer, translator and literary critic. She has published four collections of poetry, two books for children, an autobiographical work of non-fiction, and a novel. She has translated over 40 books into Estonian by authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Aphra Behn, Michael Ondaatje, Ali Smith, Goran Simić and Gabriel García Márquez. Her own poems have been translated into Arabic, English, Korean, Latin, Japanese, Russian, Slovenian, Turkish and others She is the President of Estonian PEN.

Anne Muthee
Director of Finance and Administration, PEN International

Muthee 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.

Margie Orford
Board Member, PEN International

Margie Orford is a novelist and an award-winning journalist. She is the president of PEN South Africa, the patron of Rape Crisis and of the children’s book charity, the Little Hands Trust.

Ebony Riddell Bamber
Director of Advocacy & Communications, PEN International

Ebony joined PEN International from the Equality & Diversity Forum, a UK network of human rights and equality charities where she was Director of Research & Impact. She has a strong and varied track record in international advocacy, public engagement and campaigns, working for organizations such as Health Poverty Action, Save the Children and Amnesty International.

Mohammed Sheriff
Board Member, PEN International

Mohammed Sheriff was born and bred in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He writes children’s stories, short stories, novellas and drama for radio, television and the stage. He produces and directs documentary videos, short films, radio, television and stage plays for both entertainment and development projects. He has won several international awards and the Ecowas Prize for Excellence in Literature for Secret Fear, a novella for teenagers, published by Macmillan Publishers. He travels a lot but lives with his family in Freetown.

Burhan Sönmez
Board Member, PEN International

Burhan Sönmez is a prize-winning novelist. He is the author of three novels: North (2009), Sins and Innocents (2011) and İstanbul İstanbul (2015). His novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Sönmez was born in Turkey. He grew up speaking Turkish and Kurdish, then later moved to Istanbul where he worked for a time as a lawyer. He was member of Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), Human Rights Society (IHD) and a founder of TAKSAV (Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art). He lived in Cambridge (UK) in exile for political reasons for about ten years. Sönmez lectured in Literary Theory and the Novel at the Middle East Technical University (METU). He served as jury member for the Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize. He translated the poetry book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake from English into Turkish. He contributes to various newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, La Repubblica, L’Unita, Die Zeit, BirGün, Guernica, and Electric Literature.

Dr. Ma Thida
Board Member, PEN International

A surgeon, writer and political commentator, Thida spent 5½ years in prison in the 1990s for her activism. Ever since her release she has monitored and written on events in Burma, and, with the lifting of the military regime, is now the president of PEN Myanmar. In 2016, Ma Thida was awarded the first annual “Disturbing the Peace” award by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation in New York on September 28.

Jarkko Tontti
International Treasurer, PEN International

Tontti is a novelist, essayist, poet and lawyer. He is president emeritus of Finnish PEN. Tontti studied law, philosophy and literature at the universities of Helsinki, Edinburgh, Berlin and Brussels. He has published two collections of poetry, five novels and two collections of essays. Tontti’s first published collection of poetry Vuosikirja (Book of Years, 2006) won the Kalevi Jäntti literature prize. His poems have been translated into English, French, Swedish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Croatian, Estonian, German, Greek, Slovenian, Latin, Polish, Romanian and Portuguese. Before his writing career, Tontti worked in the Ministry of Justice, Local Court of Espoo, in the Parliament of Finland and at the University of Helsinki. He received his Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki in 2002 and is a specialist in philosophy of law, freedom of expression law and copyright law.

Carles Torner
Executive Director, PEN International

Carles Torner is a Catalan writer. He has been active in PEN International’s work for over twenty years; during that time he has served as a member of the board, and 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 Ph.D. from the university of Paris VIII and was a lecturer in Communication and International Relations at Blanquerna, Universitat Ramon Llull, in Barcelona.

Regula Venske
Board Member, PEN International

Born in 1955, Regula Venske is a scholar, novelist and essayist and President of German PEN. She is a distinguished German writer best known for her crime fiction, but she also writes experimental prose and literary criticism and once in a while comes up with a poem. She wrote a thesis on the “construction and criticism of masculinity in contemporary German-language literature by women” and received her Ph.D. in 1988. She taught German literature at Hamburg University, the Free University of Berlin and Queen Mary College, London, and regularly teaches creative writing both in schools, as well as for adults. Regula Venske received a number of literary awards, including the Oldenburg Jugendbuchpreis, the German Crime-Writing Award (Deutscher Krimipreis) and the Lessing Scholarship of the City of Hamburg. She has been a member of German PEN since 1998 and has been elected General Secretary in May 2013.

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