Hachette Livre, Penguin, and Random House have joined with PEN International to launch the PEN International Publishers’ Circle. The initiative will provide support for PEN International’s work and will focus on the publishing aspects of PEN’s work for Freedom of Expression.

PEN and the involved houses are inviting publishers from around the world, regardless of size, to support PEN’s Freedom of Expression work, which ensures that publishers and writers are free to operate in all countries and that readers are free to access the books of their choice. Along with human rights work, PEN International is known for its commitment to promoting writing and a love of reading through learning and outreach programs, supporting access to literature through international festivals, events, and publications. It is active around the world, including current hot spots such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Afghanistan.

PEN International president John Ralston Saul said, “We are launching the PEN International Publisher’s Circle with the support of three of the world’s most important international publishers.” He continued, “We hope the Publisher’s Circle will expand to include publishers from around the world.”

The announcement comes just as PEN’s Free the Word! 2011 celebration of world literature comes to a close.