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PEN America

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PEN America
Formation1922
TypeLiterary society, human rights organization[1]
Legal statusNonprofit Organization
PurposePublication, advocacy, literary awards[1]
HeadquartersNew York, New York, US
Location
  • New York City, U.S.
Coordinates40°43′30″N 73°59′50″W / 40.724920°N 73.997163°W / 40.724920; -73.997163
Region served
Eastern Half of USA
Membership
Private
Official language
English
President
Ayad Akhtar[2]
Key people
Board of Trustees[1]
Parent organization
PEN International
AffiliationsInternational Freedom of Expression Exchange
Websitepen.org Edit this at Wikidata

PEN America (formerly PEN American Center), founded in 1922[3] and headquartered in New York City, is a nonprofit organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression in the United States and worldwide through the advancement of literature and human rights. PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 PEN centers worldwide that together compose PEN International.[4] PEN America has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

PEN America's advocacy includes work on press freedom and the safety of journalists, campus free speech, online harassment, artistic freedom, and support to regions of the world with challenges to freedom of expression.[5] PEN America also campaigns for individual writers and journalists who have been imprisoned or come under threat for their work, and annually presents the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.[6]

PEN America hosts public programming and events on literature and human rights, including the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature and the annual PEN America Literary Awards.[7] PEN America also works to amplify underrepresented voices, including emerging authors and writers who are undocumented, incarcerated, or face obstacles in reaching audiences.[8]

As of June 2022, PEN America staff announced their intention to unionize. Los Angeles Times reported that workers unionized with Unit of Work, a venture capitalist startup to help workers unionize, and that PEN America recognized the union the day after it was announced.[9]

The organization's name was initially conceived as an acronym: Poets, Essayists, Novelists (later broadened to Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists). As membership expanded to include a more diverse range of people involved in literature and freedom of expression, the name ceased to be an acronym in the United States.[4]

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New York City

New York City

New York City, officially the City of New York and sometimes referred to as NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over 300.46 square miles (778.2 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. The city is within the southern tip of New York State, and constitutes the geographical and demographic center of both the Northeast megalopolis and the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass. With over 20.1 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and 23.5 million in its combined statistical area as of 2020, New York is one of the world's most populous megacities, and over 58 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of the city. New York City is a global cultural, financial, and media center with a significant influence on commerce, health care and life sciences, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports. New York is the most photographed city in the world. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy, an established safe haven for global investors, and is sometimes described as the capital of the world.

Nonprofit organization

Nonprofit organization

A nonprofit organization (NPO) or non-profit organisation, also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that operates as a business aiming to generate a profit for its owners. A nonprofit is subject to the non-distribution constraint: any revenues that exceed expenses must be committed to the organization's purpose, not taken by private parties. An array of organizations are nonprofit, including some political organizations, schools, business associations, churches, social clubs, and consumer cooperatives. Nonprofit entities may seek approval from governments to be tax-exempt, and some may also qualify to receive tax-deductible contributions, but an entity may incorporate as a nonprofit entity without securing tax-exempt status.

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The right to freedom of expression has been recognised as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law by the United Nations. Many countries have constitutional law that protects free speech. Terms like free speech, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression are used interchangeably in political discourse. However, in a legal sense, the freedom of expression includes any activity of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Human rights

Human rights

Human rights are moral principles or norms for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances.

PEN International

PEN International

PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. The association has autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California and the second most populous city in the United States after New York City, as well as one of the world's most populous megacities. Los Angeles is the commercial, financial, and cultural center of Southern California. With a population of roughly 3.9 million as of 2020, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood film industry, and sprawling metropolitan area. The city of Los Angeles lies in a basin in Southern California adjacent to the Pacific Ocean extending through the Santa Monica Mountains and into the San Fernando Valley. It covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), and is the seat of Los Angeles County, which is the most populous county in the United States with an estimated 9.86 million as of 2022.

Freedom of the press

Freedom of the press

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the fundamental principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitution or other legal protection and security.

Safety of journalists

Safety of journalists

Safety of journalists is the ability for journalists and media professionals to receive, produce and share information without facing physical or moral threats.

Artistic freedom

Artistic freedom

Artistic freedom can be defined as "the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of governmental censorship, political interference or the pressures of non-state actors." Generally, artistic freedom describes the extent of independence artists obtain to create art freely. Moreover, artistic freedom concerns "the rights of citizens to access artistic expressions and take part in cultural life - and thus [represents] one of the key issues for democracy." The extent of freedom indispensable to create art freely differs regarding the existence or nonexistence of national instruments established to protect, to promote, to control or to censor artists and their creative expressions. This is why universal, regional and national legal provisions have been installed to guarantee the right to freedom of expression in general and of artistic expression in particular. In 2013, Ms Farida Shaheed, United Nations special rapporteur to the Human Rights Council, presented her "Report in the field of cultural rights: The right to freedom of expression and creativity" providing a comprehensive study of the status quo of, and specifically the limitations and challenges to, artistic freedom worldwide. In this study, artistic freedom "was put forward as a basic human right that went beyond the 'right to create' or the 'right to participate in cultural life'." It stresses the range of fundamental freedoms indispensable for artistic expression and creativity, e.g. the freedoms of movement and association. "The State of Artistic Freedom" is an integral report published by arts censorship monitor Freemuse on an annual basis.

Trade union

Trade union

A trade union, often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", such as attaining better wages and benefits, improving working conditions, improving safety standards, establishing complaint procedures, developing rules governing status of employees and protecting the integrity of their trade through the increased bargaining power wielded by solidarity among workers.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper that started publishing in Los Angeles in 1881 and is now based in the adjacent suburb of El Segundo. It has the fifth-largest circulation in the U.S. and is the largest American newspaper not headquartered on the East Coast. The paper focuses its coverage of issues particularly salient to the West Coast, such as immigration trends and natural disasters. It has won more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of these and other issues. As of June 18, 2018, ownership of the paper is controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong. It is considered a newspaper of record in the U.S.

Startup company

Startup company

A startup or start-up is a company or project undertaken by an entrepreneur to seek, develop, and validate a scalable business model. While entrepreneurship refers to all new businesses, including self-employment and businesses that never intend to become registered, startups refer to new businesses that intend to grow large beyond the solo founder. At the beginning, startups face high uncertainty and have high rates of failure, but a minority of them do go on to be successful and influential.

History

The 1986 PEN congress: (left to right) John Updike, Norman Mailer, E. L. Doctorow
The 1986 PEN congress: (left to right) John Updike, Norman Mailer, E. L. Doctorow

PEN America was formed on April 19, 1922, in New York City, and included among its initial members writers such as Willa Cather, Eugene O'Neill, Robert Frost, Ellen Glasgow, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Robert Benchley. Booth Tarkington served as the organization's first president.[4]

PEN America's founding came after the launch of PEN International in 1921 in London[3] by Catherine Amy Dawson-Scott, a British poet, playwright, and peace activist, who enlisted John Galsworthy as PEN International's first president. The intent of PEN International was to foster international literary fellowship among writers that would transcend national and ethnic divides in the wake of World War I.[4] PEN America subscribes to the principles outlined in the PEN International Charter.[10]

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John Updike

John Updike

John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only four writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, Updike published more than twenty novels, more than a dozen short-story collections, as well as poetry, art and literary criticism and children's books during his career.

E. L. Doctorow

E. L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was an American novelist, editor, and professor, best known for his works of historical fiction.

New York City

New York City

New York City, officially the City of New York and sometimes referred to as NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over 300.46 square miles (778.2 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. The city is within the southern tip of New York State, and constitutes the geographical and demographic center of both the Northeast megalopolis and the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass. With over 20.1 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and 23.5 million in its combined statistical area as of 2020, New York is one of the world's most populous megacities, and over 58 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of the city. New York City is a global cultural, financial, and media center with a significant influence on commerce, health care and life sciences, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports. New York is the most photographed city in the world. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy, an established safe haven for global investors, and is sometimes described as the capital of the world.

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into the U.S. the drama techniques of realism, earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The tragedy Long Day's Journey into Night is often included on lists of the finest U.S. plays in the 20th century, alongside Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Ellen Glasgow

Ellen Glasgow

Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow was an American novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1942 for her novel In This Our Life. She published 20 novels, as well as short stories, to critical acclaim. A lifelong Virginian, Glasgow portrayed the changing world of the contemporary South in a realistic manner, differing from the idealistic escapism that characterized Southern literature after Reconstruction.

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson was an American poet and playwright. Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on three occasions and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.

Booth Tarkington

Booth Tarkington

Newton Booth Tarkington was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and Alice Adams (1921). He is one of only four novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, along with William Faulkner, John Updike, and Colson Whitehead. In the 1910s and 1920s he was considered United States greatest living author. Several of his stories were adapted to film.

London

London

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a 50-mile (80 km) estuary down to the North Sea, and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The City of London, its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retains its medieval boundaries. The City of Westminster, to the west of the City of London, has for centuries hosted the national government and parliament. Since the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, which largely comprises Greater London, governed by the Greater London Authority.

Catherine Amy Dawson Scott

Catherine Amy Dawson Scott

Catherine Amy Dawson Scott was an English writer, playwright and poet. She is best known as a co-founder of International PEN, a worldwide association of writers. In her later years she became a keen spiritualist.

John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga (1906–1921) and its sequels, A Modern Comedy and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932.

Nationalism

Nationalism

Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland to create a nation-state. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity, based on a combination of shared social characteristics such as culture, ethnicity, geographic location, language, politics, religion, traditions and belief in a shared singular history, and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional culture. There are various definitions of a "nation", which leads to different types of nationalism. The two main divergent forms are ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism.

Ethnic group

Ethnic group

An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area. Ethnicity is sometimes used interchangeably with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from the related concept of races.

Membership

MEMBERS OF PEN pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, members also pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood, and distortion of facts for political and personal ends. – from PEN's Founding Charter, New York City, 1922.[11]

Full membership in PEN America generally requires being a published writer with at least one work professionally published, or being a translator, agent, editor, or other publishing professional. There is also a "reader" tier of membership open to supporters from the general public, as well as a "student" membership.[12]

Notable members of PEN America past and present include: Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edward Albee, Maya Angelou, Paul Auster, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Giannina Braschi, Teju Cole, Don DeLillo, E.L. Doctorow, Roxane Gay, Langston Hughes, Barbara Kingsolver, Norman Mailer, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Toni Morrison, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Lynn Nottage, Grace Paley, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Richard Russo, Sam Shepard, Susan Sontag, John Steinbeck, Elizabeth Strout, Anne Tyler, and Colson Whitehead.[4]

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Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic who is regarded as the dominant figure of modern African literature. His first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), occupies a pivotal place in African literature and remains the most widely studied, translated, and read African novel. Along with Things Fall Apart, his No Longer at Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964) complete the so-called "African Trilogy"; later novels include A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). He is often referred to as the "father of African literature", although he vigorously rejected the characterization.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works include novels, short stories and nonfiction. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [which] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature", particularly in her second home, the United States.

Edward Albee

Edward Albee

Edward Franklin Albee III was an American playwright known for works such as The Zoo Story (1958), The Sandbox (1959), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), A Delicate Balance (1966), and Three Tall Women (1994). Some critics have argued that some of his work constitutes an American variant of what Martin Esslin identified and named the Theater of the Absurd. Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was an American writer. He garnered acclaim across various media, including essays, novels, plays, and poems. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, was published in 1953; decades later, Time magazine included the novel on its list of the 100 best English-language novels released from 1923 to 2005. His first essay collection, Notes of a Native Son, was published in 1955.

Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo

Donald Richard DeLillo is an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. His works have covered subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war, sports, the complexities of language, performance art, the Cold War, mathematics, the advent of the digital age, politics, economics, and global terrorism.

E. L. Doctorow

E. L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was an American novelist, editor, and professor, best known for his works of historical fiction.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the Negro was in vogue", which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue."

Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the Congo in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her widely known works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a non-fiction account of her family's attempts to eat locally.

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller

Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright, essayist and screenwriter in the 20th-century American theater. Among his most popular plays are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (1955). He wrote several screenplays and was most noted for his work on The Misfits (1961). The drama Death of a Salesman is considered one of the best American plays of the 20th century.

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore

Marianne Craig Moore was an American modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit.

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage is an American playwright whose work often focuses on the experience of working-class people, particularly working-class people who are Black. She has received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice: in 2009 for her play Ruined, and in 2017 for her play Sweat. She was the first woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama two times.

PEN Board of Trustees

The PEN America Board of Trustees is composed of writers, artists, and leaders in the fields of publishing, media, technology, law, finance, human rights, and philanthropy.

Jennifer Egan, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the 2018 Carnegie Medal for literary excellence, became president of PEN America in 2018. Egan was succeeded by Ayad Akhtar on December 2, 2020.[13] Other members of the Board of Trustees Executive Committee are: Executive Vice President Markus Dohle, Vice President Masha Gessen, Vice President Tracy Higgins, Treasurer Yvonne Marsh, and Secretary Ayad Akhtar.[14]

Additional trustees are: Marie Arana, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Gabriella De Ferrari, Roxanne Donovan, Lauren Embrey, Nathan Englander, Jeanmarie Fenrich, Tom Healy, Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Saeed Jones, Zachary Karabell, Sean Kelly, Franklin Leonard, Margaret Munzer Loeb, Erroll McDonald, Dinaw Mengestu, Sevil Miyhandar, Paul Muldoon, Alexandra Munroe, Christian Oberbeck, Michael Pietsch, Marvin S. Putnam, Theresa Rebeck, Laura Baudo Sillerman, Andrew Solomon, Jacob Weisberg, Jamie Wolf, and Hanya Yanagihara.[14]

The Chief Executive Officer of PEN America is Suzanne Nossel.[14]

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Human rights

Human rights

Human rights are moral principles or norms for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances.

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan is an American novelist and short-story writer. Egan's novel A Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. As of February 28, 2018, she is the President of the PEN America.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year. They are named in honor of nineteenth-century American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in recognition of his deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world. The award is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and administered by the American Library Association (ALA). Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) cosponsor the awards. The shortlist and winners are selected by a seven-member selection committee of library experts who work with adult readers. The annually appointed selection committee includes a chair, three Booklist editors or contributors, and three former members of RUSA CODES Notable Books Council.

Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar is an American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter of Pakistani heritage, awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His work has received two Tony Award nominations for Best Play, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Edith Wharton Citation for Merit in Fiction. Akhtar's writing covers various themes including the American-Muslim experience, religion and economics, immigration, and identity. In 2015, The Economist wrote that Akhtar's tales of assimilation "are as essential today as the work of Saul Bellow, James Farrell, and Vladimir Nabokov were in the 20th century in capturing the drama of the immigrant experience."

Markus Dohle

Markus Dohle

Markus Dohle is a German businessperson who is the chief executive officer of Penguin Random House.

Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist, author, translator and activist who has been an outspoken critic of the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the former president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Marie Arana

Marie Arana

Marie Arana is an author, editor, journalist, critic, and the inaugural Literary Director of the Library of Congress.

Jennifer Finney Boylan

Jennifer Finney Boylan

Jennifer Finney Boylan is a bestselling author, transgender activist, professor at Barnard College, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

Gabriella De Ferrari

Gabriella De Ferrari

Gabriella De Ferrari is an American art historian, curator, and writer who has worked with and led major arts institutions throughout the United States.

Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard is an American film executive best known for founding The Black List, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays. After working as a development executive for Overbrook Entertainment and Universal Pictures, Leonard is currently an adviser to BoomGen Studios and Plympton. Leonard serves on the board of directors for Young Storytellers.

Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian-American novelist and writer. In addition to three novels, he has written for Rolling Stone on the war in Darfur, and for Jane Magazine on the conflict in northern Uganda. His writing has also appeared in Harper's, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. He is the Program Director of Written Arts at Bard College. In 2007 the National Book Foundation named him a "5 under 35" honoree. Since his first book was published in 2007, he has received numerous literary awards, and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

Alexandra Munroe

Alexandra Munroe

Alexandra Munroe, Ph.D., is a curator, Asia scholar, and author focusing on art, culture, and institutional global strategy. She has produced over 40 exhibitions and published pioneering scholarship on modern and contemporary Asian art. She organized the first major North American retrospectives of artists Yayoi Kusama (1989), Daido Moriyama (1999), Yoko Ono (2000), Mu Xin (2001), Cai Guo-Qiang (2008), and Lee Ufan (2011), among others, and has brought such historic avant-garde movements as Gutai, Mono-ha, and Chinese conceptual art, as well as Japanese otaku culture, to international attention. Her project Japanese Art after 1945: Scream Against the Sky (1994) is recognized for initiating the field of postwar Japanese art history in North America. Recently, Munroe was lead curator of the Guggenheim’s exhibition, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, which the New York Times named as one of 2017’s top ten exhibitions and ARTnews named as one of the decade’s top 25 most influential shows. Credited for the far-reaching impact of her exhibitions and scholarship bolstering knowledge of postwar Japanese art history in America and Japan, she received the 2017 Japan Foundation Award and the 2018 Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award, both bestowed by the government of Japan.

Literature

PEN America celebrates the written word with a nationwide series of events throughout the year. Many feature prominent authors who appear at festivals and on panel discussions, give lectures, and are featured at PEN America's Authors' Evenings. As a part of its work, PEN America also celebrates emerging writers, recognizing them through PEN America's Literary Awards or bringing them to new audiences at public events. Among them are: Hermione Hoby, Morgan Jerkins, Crystal Hana Kim, Alice Sola Kim, Lisa Ko, Layli Long Soldier, Carmen Maria Machado, Darnell L. Moore, Alexis Okeowo, Helen Oyeyemi, Tommy Pico, Jenny Zhang, and Ibi Zoboi.[4]

PEN World Voices Festival

The PEN World Voices Festival is a week-long series of events in New York City hosted by PEN America each spring. It is the largest international literary festival in the United States, and the only one with a human rights focus. The festival was founded by Salman Rushdie in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the United States and the world.[15]

Notable guests have included: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Samantha Bee, Giannina Braschi, Carrie Brownstein, Ron Chernow, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Teju Cole, E.L. Doctorow, Dave Eggers, Roxane Gay, Masha Gessen, Saeed Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Hasan Minaj, Sean Penn, Cecile Richards, Salman Rushdie, Gabourey Sidibe, Patti Smith, Zadie Smith, Andrew Solomon, Pia Tafdrup, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Colm Toibin, and Colson Whitehead.[15][16]

PEN America Literary Awards Program

The PEN America Literary Awards annually honor outstanding voices in literature across genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, science and sports writing, essays, biography, and children's literature. PEN America confers more than 20 awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes each year, presenting nearly US$350,000 to writers and translators.[7]

The US$75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award is currently the top award given by PEN America,[17] and among the largest literary prizes in the United States.[18] Among other awards conferred are the US$50,000 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, the US$25,000 PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel, the US$25,000 PEN/Bingham Award for a Debut Short Story Collection, and the US$10,000 PEN/Open Book Award for new books by writers of color.[17]

PEN America Literary Gala and LitFest

The PEN America Literary Gala in New York and LitFest in Los Angeles are annual events celebrating free expression and the literary arts. These events include tributes and calls to action to audiences of authors, screenwriters, producers, executives, philanthropists, actors, and other devotees of the written word. Honorees have included Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood. Celebrated writers serve as Literary Hosts for the events.[19][20]

PEN America Prison Writing Program

Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program provides hundreds of inmates across the country with writing resources and audiences for their work. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free writing handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows promise, and seeks to bring inmates' work to the public through literary events, readings, and publications. PEN America also provides assistance to other prison writing initiatives around the country and offers a Writing for Justice Fellowship for writers inside and outside of prison seeking to advance the conversation around the challenges of mass incarceration through creative expression.[21]

Support to writers

The PEN Writers' Emergency Fund assists professional writers in acute, emergency financial crisis.[22] PEN America Membership committees focus on the interests of literary professionals in different fields and include the Translation Committee and the Children and Young Adult Book Authors Committee.[23][24] The Emerging Voices Fellowship, based at PEN America's Los Angeles office, is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career.[25] PEN America also has offered workshops that nurture the writing skills of domestic workers, taxi drivers, street vendors, and others wage earners.[4]

Publications

PEN America has several periodic publications. They include the Prison Writing Awards Anthology featuring winning entries from the annual contest for incarcerated authors, PEN America Best Debut Short Stories, a yearly anthology of fiction by the recipients of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, and PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, founded in 2000.[26]

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Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby is a British author, journalist, and cultural critic. She is the author of the 2018 novel Neon in Daylight.

Crystal Hana Kim

Crystal Hana Kim

Crystal Hana Kim is an American author. Her first novel, If You Leave Me, was named a best book of 2018 by The Washington Post, ALA Booklist, Literary Hub, Cosmopolitan, and others. Kim was named a National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 honoree in 2022.

Alice Sola Kim

Alice Sola Kim

Alice Sola Kim is an American science fiction writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Kim was a 2016 Whiting Award recipient. Her writings have appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Tin House, Lenny Letter, Asimov's Science Fiction, Buzzfeed, and Strange Horizons. Kim's works include short stories like “We Love Deena" and "Hwang's Billion Brilliant Daughters.”

Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier is an Oglala Lakota poet, writer, feminist, artist, and activist.

Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado is an American short story author, essayist, and critic frequently published in The New Yorker, Granta, Lightspeed Magazine, and other publications. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette. Her stories have been reprinted in Year's Best Weird Fiction, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, The New Voices of Fantasy, and Best Women's Erotica. She published Her Body and Other Parties, a story collection, in 2017. Her memoir In the Dream House was published in 2019 and won the 2021 Folio Prize.

Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore is an American writer and activist whose work is informed by anti-racist, feminist, queer of color, and anti-colonial thought and advocacy. Darnell's essays, social commentary, poetry, and interviews have appeared in various national and international media venues, including the Feminist Wire, Ebony magazine, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and The Advocate.

Alexis Okeowo

Alexis Okeowo

Alexis Okeowo is an American journalist who is a staff writer at The New Yorker. They are the author of A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi FRSL is a British novelist and writer of short stories.

Jenny Zhang (writer)

Jenny Zhang (writer)

Jenny Zhang is an American writer, poet, and prolific essayist based in Brooklyn, New York. One focus of her work is on the Chinese American immigrant identity and experience in the United States. She has published a collection of poetry called Dear Jenny, We Are All Find and a non-fiction chapbook called Hags. From 2011 to 2014, Zhang wrote extensively for Rookie. Additionally, Zhang has worked as a freelance essayist for other publications. In August 2017, Zhang's short story collection, Sour Heart, was the first acquisition by Lena Dunham's Lenny imprint, Lenny Books, via Random House.

Ibi Zoboi

Ibi Zoboi

Ibi Zoboi is a Haitian-American author of young adult fiction. She is best known for her young adult novel American Street, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young Adult's Literature in 2017.

Human rights

Human rights

Human rights are moral principles or norms for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works include novels, short stories and nonfiction. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [which] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature", particularly in her second home, the United States.

Free Expression

PEN America's Free Expression Programs defend writers and journalists and protect free expression rights in the United States and around the world. This work includes research and reports on topical issues, advocacy internationally and in the United States, and campaigns on policy issues and on behalf of individual writers and journalists under threat.[4]

Writers at Risk

PEN America's work is sustained advocacy on behalf of individual writers and journalists who are being persecuted because of their work. With help from its members and supporters, PEN America carries out campaigns to ensure the freedom, safety, and ability to write and publish without constraint. Advocacy is conducted from PEN America's Washington, D.C., office, as well as through national and international campaigns, events, reports, and delegations. PEN America also focuses on countries and regions where free expression is under particular challenge, including China, Myanmar, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Central Asia.[27]

Press Freedom

PEN America monitors the freedom of the press and safety of journalists in the United States and internationally. The Press Freedom Incentive Fund supports PEN America members and their allies to mobilize their communities around press freedom, with the aim of creating new constituencies to promote and protect a free press and information access as foundations for a healthy democracy.[28] PEN America also focuses on issues of fraudulent news and media literacy, and has produced an in-depth report, "Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth", alongside its "News Consumers Bill of Rights and Responsibilities."[29] A related project examines indicators of trustworthiness that news organizations can use to educate their audiences on the credibility of their news gathering and distribution practices.

Campus Free Speech

PEN America has a focus on issues surrounding free speech at colleges and universities and seeks to raise awareness of the First Amendment and foster constructive dialogue that upholds the free speech rights of all on campus.[30] This work includes the "PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech" and the report, "And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Freedom of Speech at U.S. Universities".[31]

Online Harassment Field Manual

In April 2018, PEN America launched the Online Harassment Field Manual in an effort to aid writers and journalists who must navigate online spaces by providing resources, tools, and tips to help them respond safely and effectively to incidents of online harassment and hateful speech.[32] PEN America also leads workshops to equip writers, journalists, and all those active online with tools and tactics to defend against hateful speech and trolling.

Artists at Risk Connection

The Artists at Risk Connection is an international hub of more than 700 organizations working to protect artistic freedom around the world by improving access to resources for artists at risk, raising awareness of the threats, and enhancing connections among supporters of artistic freedom. This program extends support to artists of all kinds, encompassing writers, cartoonists, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, and performance artists, as well as other individuals who produce significant creative output.[33]

Discover more about Free Expression related topics

Freedom of speech in the United States

Freedom of speech in the United States

In the United States, freedom of speech and expression is strongly protected from government restrictions by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, many state constitutions, and state and federal laws. Freedom of speech, also called free speech, means the free and public expression of opinions without censorship, interference and restraint by the government. The term "freedom of speech" embedded in the First Amendment encompasses the decision what to say as well as what not to say. The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment and has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech. The First Amendment's constitutional right of free speech, which is applicable to state and local governments under the incorporation doctrine, prevents only government restrictions on speech, not restrictions imposed by private individuals or businesses unless they are acting on behalf of the government. However, It can be restricted by time, place and manner in limited circumstances. Some laws may restrict the ability of private businesses and individuals from restricting the speech of others, such as employment laws that restrict employers' ability to prevent employees from disclosing their salary to coworkers or attempting to organize a labor union.

China

China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, tied with Russia. China also has a narrow maritime boundary with the disputed Taiwan. Covering an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the world's third largest country by total land area. The country consists of 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two Special Administrative Regions. The national capital is Beijing, and the most populous city and financial center is Shanghai.

Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is the largest country by area in Mainland Southeast Asia, and has a population of about 54 million as of 2017. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest. The country's capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city is Yangon (Rangoon).

Russia

Russia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, covering over 17,098,246 square kilometres (6,601,670 sq mi), and encompassing one-eighth of Earth's inhabitable landmass. Russia extends across eleven time zones and shares land boundaries with fourteen countries, more than any other country but China. It is the world's ninth-most populous country and Europe's most populous country, with a population of 146 million people. The country's capital and largest city is Moscow, the largest city entirely within Europe. Saint Petersburg is Russia's cultural centre and second-largest city. Other major urban areas include Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan.

Belarus

Belarus

Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Covering an area of 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) and with a population of 9.4 million, Belarus is the 13th-largest and the 20th-most populous country in Europe. The country has a hemiboreal climate and is administratively divided into seven regions. Minsk is the capital and largest city.

Ukraine

Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders to the east and northeast. Ukraine covers approximately 600,000 square kilometres (230,000 sq mi). Prior to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, it was the eighth-most populous country in Europe, with a population of around 41 million people. It is also bordered by Belarus to the north; by Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; and by Romania and Moldova to the southwest; with a coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast. Kyiv is the nation's capital and largest city. Ukraine's official and national language is Ukrainian; most people are also fluent in Russian.

Central Asia

Central Asia

Central Asia is a region of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. It includes the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, which are colloquially referred to as the "-stans" as the countries all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". Current geographical location of Central Asia was formerly part of the historic Turkistan also known as Turan.

Freedom of the press

Freedom of the press

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the fundamental principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitution or other legal protection and security.

Safety of journalists

Safety of journalists

Safety of journalists is the ability for journalists and media professionals to receive, produce and share information without facing physical or moral threats.

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws that regulate an establishment of religion, or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

Hate speech

Hate speech

Hate speech is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as "public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation". Hate speech is "usually thought to include communications of animosity or disparagement of an individual or a group on account of a group characteristic such as race, colour, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation". Legal definitions of hate speech vary from country to country.

Artistic freedom

Artistic freedom

Artistic freedom can be defined as "the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of governmental censorship, political interference or the pressures of non-state actors." Generally, artistic freedom describes the extent of independence artists obtain to create art freely. Moreover, artistic freedom concerns "the rights of citizens to access artistic expressions and take part in cultural life - and thus [represents] one of the key issues for democracy." The extent of freedom indispensable to create art freely differs regarding the existence or nonexistence of national instruments established to protect, to promote, to control or to censor artists and their creative expressions. This is why universal, regional and national legal provisions have been installed to guarantee the right to freedom of expression in general and of artistic expression in particular. In 2013, Ms Farida Shaheed, United Nations special rapporteur to the Human Rights Council, presented her "Report in the field of cultural rights: The right to freedom of expression and creativity" providing a comprehensive study of the status quo of, and specifically the limitations and challenges to, artistic freedom worldwide. In this study, artistic freedom "was put forward as a basic human right that went beyond the 'right to create' or the 'right to participate in cultural life'." It stresses the range of fundamental freedoms indispensable for artistic expression and creativity, e.g. the freedoms of movement and association. "The State of Artistic Freedom" is an integral report published by arts censorship monitor Freemuse on an annual basis.

Source: "PEN America", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PEN_America.

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References
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  2. ^ "Ayad Akhtar named new PEN American president". ABC News. September 8, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "PEN America at 100: Writers' organization shares treasures at the New-York Historical Society". Our Town. July 29, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Us". pen.org. PEN America. September 20, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  5. ^ "Free Expression Focus Issues". pen.org. PEN America. December 12, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award". pen.org. PEN America. May 15, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Literary Awards". pen.org. PEN America. September 20, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  8. ^ "Prison & Justice Writing". pen.org. PEN America. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Dean, Sam (August 12, 2022). "The organized labor movement has a new ally: venture capitalists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  10. ^ "PEN Charter - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Membership - PEN America". PEN America. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  12. ^ "Membership - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ayad Akhtar named new PEN American president". ABC News. September 8, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "Current Board of Trustees". pen.org. PEN America. September 20, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "PEN World Voices Festival". pen.org. PEN America. December 2, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (February 27, 2018). "Hillary Clinton to Speak at PEN World Voices Festival". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Awards - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Schaub, Michael (July 20, 2016). "PEN America launches $75,000 book prize, one of the country's biggest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  19. ^ "Literary Gala - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  20. ^ "LitFest Gala - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  21. ^ "Prison & Justice Writing - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  22. ^ "Writers' Emergency Fund - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  23. ^ "Translation Committee - PEN America". pen.org. September 20, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Children's and Young Adult Book Authors - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  25. ^ "Emerging Voices Fellowship - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  26. ^ "Publications". pen.org. PEN America. December 28, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "Writers At Risk - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  28. ^ "Press Freedom Incentive Fund - PEN America". pen.org. September 15, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  29. ^ "Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth". pen.org. October 12, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  30. ^ "Campus Speech - PEN America". pen.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  31. ^ "And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities - PEN America". pen.org. October 17, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  32. ^ "Online Harassment Field Manual". onlineharassmentfieldmanual.pen.org. April 13, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  33. ^ "ARC – Artists at Risk Connection". artistsatriskconnection.org. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
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