This past January our colleague Georges Anglade, co-founder and president of the Haitian PEN Center, died along with his wife in the earthquake in Port-au-Prince. The Center itself, housed in the National Library, was devastated as well.

Georges was deeply committed to the work of PEN and devoted many years to promoting literature and defending free expression. Early in his long and varied career as a democratic activist, he was jailed and tortured by the Duvalier regime. Upon his release, he moved to Quebec where he distinguished himself as a university professor and writer in Montreal. He was well known to the International PEN community and widely admired by his colleagues, not least for his seemingly indefatigable energy.

In April, PEN American Center, PEN USA, PEN Canada, and Québec-PEN agreed to coordinate a fundraising effort to help reestablish the Haitian PEN Center. As part of that effort, we are inviting our members and supporters to make a one-time donation of up to $100 to the Cercle des amisPEN Haïti/Circle of the FriendsPEN Haiti.

With the agreement of the new Board of PEN Haiti, and its recently elected President, Jean-Euphèle Milcé, its Secretary Emmelie Prophète and its Treasurer, Verly Dabel, all contributions to Cercle des amis–PEN Haïti should be made out directly to the Centre Québécois du P.E.N. International. The funds raised by Cercle will be deposited in a specific account managed by Québec-PEN and transferred directly to PEN Haiti. Disbursements will be made according to a rigorous timeline and will be accounted for in the Centre’s subsequent reports. Initially, the funds will be used to rent, refurbish, staff and manage new offices. An additional room will be dedicated to a small library (la Bibliothèque Georges Anglade) that will be available to members and to the Haitian youth who used to frequent the area before the earthquake.

Cercle’s fundraising is expected to be only a temporary measure. After a few months, it is hoped that PEN Haiti will seek and obtain from local, international or diplomatic sources the financial support necessary to continue its programs. At this time, Cercle will, of course, continue to support PEN Haiti and to facilitate its continuing and dynamic presence in the PEN International community.

If you would like to make a contribution, please send a check for up to $100 made out to: Centre Québécois du P.E.N. International (with a note on the memo line: Cercle des amis–PEN Haïti)

Centre Québécois du P.E.N. International
3492, Avenue Laval
Montréal, Québec H2X 3C8

If you do choose to contribute, we ask that you contact us so that we can keep track of our Members’ and supporters response to this important and worthy appeal.