I'M TOLD that one has to have a book published to be on PEN's board of trustees, or to become a member of PEN. This means that excluded writers can't belong to an organization meant to protect excluded writers! A neat trick.
Who are PEN board members?
They're the most privileged and connected writers in America, with the least interest in changing anything about the American writing scene. The very writers who least should be on the board of such an organization are running the thing.
The solution: There are underground writers who've been published who'd make excellent PEN trustees; Tim W. Brown, Carl Robinson, and Wred Fright among them.