English PEN director Glanville steps down

English PEN director Glanville steps down

Jo Glanville is stepping down as director of English PEN after being awarded an honorary visiting fellowship at the Gießen University in Germany.

Glanville will leave the post in July after four years. No news of her replacement been confirmed, but The Bookseller understands that an interim director is soon to be announced.

English PEN’s president Maureen Freely said in her time leading the members’ organisation, the charity had “cemented its reputation as the leading champion of freedom of speech for writers in the UK and internationally” and “transformed” its level of engagement as an advocate of freedom of expression.

“I feel very privileged to have worked alongside Jo Glanville for the past three years. Her dedication to the cause of free expression is absolute.  She has been its most passionate advocate, in the media and at the highest levels of government,” Freely said.

She also credited Glanville with working “tirelessly” to support new writers in the UK’s marginalised communities along with writers at risk abroad.

“With her prescient grasp of the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age, she has transformed our work as well as our reach.  English PEN will not be the same without her.  But her legacy will remain, and for this we shall be forever grateful,” Freely added.

Glanville said she had worked with some of “the most dedicated” advocates for freedom of expression in the UK and internationally during her time at English PEN, “including remarkable and courageous writers, publishers, journalists, translators, lawyers, bloggers and editors”.

“I’m grateful to everyone for the generous support that makes PEN’s work possible, and for the inspiration and guidance throughout,” she said.

Several redundancies were made at English PEN during Glanville's tenure too, with five of its team of 12 departing last November, including deputy director Catherine Taylor.

At the time, Glanville said: “The restructure will not affect the work we do in anyway but we are looking to bring in new skills in a view to creating a new business model. We’re hoping the restructure will put us in the best position in the wake of Brexit.”