PEN Oakland is a branch of PEN, an international literary and human rights organization. We were founded in 1989 by Ishmael Reed, Floyd Salas, Claire Ortalda and Reginald Lockett. We annually sponsor the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, which honors well-known and emerging Bay Area and international authors for excellence in multicultural literature. Click below to learn more about our history or reach out if you would like to get involved.
PEN Oakland pledges to do their utmost to dispel race, class and national hatreds, as well as to champion the ideal of one-humanity living in peace in the world. Literature, though often national in origin, knows no frontiers. PEN stands for the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and the community to which they belong. In addition, through a series of symposia, we engage local and national media monitors in a dialogue so that greater understanding of non-traditional literature can be created and so that issues of censorship and stereotypes can be addressed. We hope that eventually reviews and criticism might come from a consciousness which understands the life out of which such works arise, and it is to that end that we present non-traditional literature and non-mainstream issues to the general public.