NEW YORK (AP) — The two main U.S. chapters of PEN, the international literary and human rights organization, are merging.

The New York-based PEN America and California-based PEN Center USA told The Associated Press on Monday that they will be called PEN America. Suzanne Nossel, currently executive director of the New York chapter, will oversee the new entity. Nossel said in a statement that the decision came out of a "shared sense of urgency" about free expression in the U.S. and overseas.

The two PEN chapters were started at different times and have operated independently of each other. PEN America was founded in 1922 and consists of some 5,700 members. PEN Center USA began in Los Angeles in 1943 and has around 900 members.