As PEN America celebrates its 100th year, we are proving every day that each generation must rise to the challenge of defending the cherished rights to write, speak, and express ourselves freely. The threats around us are unprecedented: book bans, authoritarians worldwide targeting authors, even with physical violence, while ideas and history itself are censored in classrooms. You can help PEN America celebrate and defend free expression, and unite the community that cares deeply about it. Show your support by participating in our events, taking action on the local level, and reading the groundbreaking research that drives our mission.
Keishel Williams on Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun: “There need to be spaces for Americans to learn about Blackness outside of an American context.”
Editor, literary writer, and book critic Keishel Williams speaks to PEN America about the harm done by banning books like Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun from classrooms. “Denying students age-appropriate opportunities to read Half of a Yellow Sun in classrooms because the truth is too violent is denying them the opportunity to understand the truth of their friends, their neighbors, and in some cases, their own history.”
Read PEN America’s Latest Report, “Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools.”
Banned Book Week 2022 may be over, but PEN America is still hard at work responding to the ongoing wave of book bans across the country. This report on school book bans offers a comprehensive look at bans, challenges, and restrictions on books in libraries and classrooms throughout the 2021–22 school year. It also sheds light on the role of organized efforts to drive many of the bans.
Bringing Together Writers and Readers for Events, Panels, and Demonstrations Across the Country
Join PEN America at the 2022 Brooklyn Book Festival for The Writer as Migrant, a panel discussion on how literature—from fiction to poetry, essays to playwriting—can shift the immigration debate. Featuring Mexican novelist and founder of DREAMing Out Loud Álvaro Enrique, poet and co-editor of Somewhere We Are Human Sonia Guiñansaca, and alum of DREAMing Out Loud and a contributor to Somewhere We Are Human t. jahan. Sunday, October 2 at 11am.