Cunard, the British cruise company, has joined with the PEN American Center, the writers’ group, to create a book club on the high seas.

Cunard, which is donating $70,000 to PEN, will obtain the services of PEN writers, who will sail on Cunard cruises and discuss their work with passengers. The alliance involves six cruises this year and eight in 2009.

Cunard will also help sponsor a gala on April 28, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, that will kick off the 2008 PEN World Voices Festival.

Salman Rushdie, chairman of the festival, and Francine Prose, president of the PEN American Center, are scheduled to announce the Cunard partnership on Thursday, on board the Queen Mary 2 at the passenger cruise terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Carol Marlow, president of Cunard, said the company was working with PEN because both are “international organizations with a long history, and concern and high regard for the cultural things in life.”

Ms. Marlow said she did not have time to belong to a book club, though she likes to read. She said she was currently rereading “Birdsong,” the novel by Sebastian Faulks set during World War I that she called “a moving description of a young man’s life.”