After the surprising resignation of PEN President Deniz Yücel, PEN members called for a younger workforce. The writer Thea Dorn said on Saturday during the debate at the general meeting in Gotha that staying in PEN only makes sense for her if the association radically reorganizes itself.
PEN member Herbert Wiesner said: “We need a fresh start with younger people after this disaster, we are heading for Nirvana.”
The journalist Yücel gave up his presidency on Friday evening in Gotha after a debate that was sometimes venomous and a barely failed motion to be voted out. At the same time, the 48-year-old declared his departure from the “Bratwurst booth” PEN. On Saturday, the remaining members of the Presidium in Gotha resigned. An emergency board is now to run the PEN business until a new election is held at an extraordinary general meeting.
The writer Josef Haslinger will now temporarily lead the PEN Center as President. The 66-year-old was elected interim head of the writers’ association on Saturday at the general meeting in Gotha with a large majority. Haslinger was PEN President from 2013 to 2017. He wants to prepare for the restart, said Haslinger.
The management style of the top echelons, who were only elected in October, had led to fierce internal quarrels and a deep division in the association. After the debacle in Gotha, many members thought about leaving the writers’ association, as they announced on Saturday. They rated the mutual contact as unworthy, shameful, shabby and embarrassing.
In the discussion, the writers Eva Menasse and Julia Franck expressed their dismay at the malice and trench warfare that had come to light in Gotha. Franck spoke of a “hellish spectacle” and battles in which she did not want to take part.