Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about PEN America Membership, programs, our website, and more.
About PEN AMerica
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
Our nationwide Membership includes more than 7,500 novelists, journalists, nonfiction writers, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other writing professionals as well as devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission. Learn more about us here.
PEN America produces original research on pressing threats to free expression, including book bans, educational gag orders, online abuse, and disinformation; advocates for threatened writers and public policies that bolster freedom of speech worldwide; celebrates literature through awards, grants and fellowships, and public programming; and connects a community of authors, writers, and their allies through our Membership.
PEN America formed on April 19, 1922, in New York City and included among its founding Members writers such as Willa Cather, Eugene O’Neill, Robert Frost, Ellen Glasgow, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Benchley, and, as the first president, Booth Tarkington.
Our name was conceived as an acronym: Poets, Essayists, Novelists (later broadened to Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists). Over time, as Membership expanded to include a more diverse range of people involved with words and freedom of expression, those categories no longer defined who could join. Today, the “PEN” in PEN America does not represent an acronym.
PEN America is a national organization headquartered in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. We also maintain offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Unless otherwise noted, PEN America events are open to the public. PEN America Members receive discounts on ticketed programs, as well as invitations to certain Member-only events.
Supporting PEN America
PEN America gratefully accepts tax-deductible donations online here. You can also send a check to:
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
Yes. PEN America is recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Our Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 13-3447888. You can view PEN America’s latest IRS Form 990 here.
When you make a contribution, 100 percent is tax deductible, unless otherwise noted.
A great way to support PEN America is by becoming a Member.
Planned Giving: By including PEN America in your will, you can leave the legacy of literature and free expression for future generations. For more information, please contact Senior Director of Development Deborah Wilson at [email protected] or +1 646-779-4812.
Gifts in honor or memory of: Donations in honor or memory of someone are a great way to recognize that individual. You may donate online, send a check, or contact [email protected] or call +1 646-981-0681 for more information.
Matching Gifts: If your company has a matching gift program, you can double or in some cases triple your contribution. Please obtain a matching gift form from your personnel office or matching gift coordinator, fill it out, and send it to us.
General sponsorship or advertising with PEN America: There are a number of sponsorship and advertising opportunities available at PEN America that can offer your press, company, or organization unique access to a broad audience of cultural enthusiasts. View our Corporate Sponsorship page for more information.
Apply for Membership here. There are two categories of Membership:
- Professional Membership is available to authors who have published one or more books of a literary character; editors who have demonstrated commitment to excellence in their profession; translators who have published at least one book-length literary translation; playwrights who have had one production of their work mounted in a professional theater; and literary essayists and journalists whose publications are extensive even if they have not yet been issued as a book-length work.
- Reader Membership is open to anyone who supports PEN America’s mission. Reader Membership offers many benefits, such as opportunities to participate in advocacy for free expression and discounts to our public programs and invitations.
Membership dues are 100 percent tax-deductible.
As a PEN America Member, you enjoy early access to PEN America programs and events like the PEN World Voices Festival. Save up to 50% on your favorite literary publications with our exclusive discounts. Be part of the PEN America community at member receptions like the annual New Year New Books party. Discover more perks and discounts on our password-protected Membership Benefits page. Please check your most recent Member Newsletter, or email [email protected], for the password.
We adhere to confidentiality protocols and are unable to share contact information for any of our Members. However, you can consult our Membership Directory.
WEBSITE & TECHNICAL ISSUES
Please contact [email protected] with any concerns regarding website content. Please include a detailed description of the problem and a URL link to the page where it appears, if applicable.
SERVICES FOR WRITERS
PEN America offers confidential assistance to writers in the United States to address cases of acute financial emergency through the Writers’ Emergency Fund and other programs. Please visit the Writers’ Emergency Fund for more information.
No, this is not within our mission.
While most of PEN America’s grants and awards are for published works, the PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History, the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund grants, and the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature recognize unpublished manuscripts or works in progress.
Due to the large number of submissions, we cannot give individual feedback.
Unfortunately, PEN America does not offer legal services to its Members.
While PEN America does not currently offer health care options to its members, we have compiled a listing of organizations offering health-care access to writers and artists on the Health Insurance for Writers Page. Please note that these resources are not administered directly through PEN America, and those interested should contact the organizations directly for specific details.
PEN America hosts advocacy events and workshops around the country, as well as online activism opportunities. Most activities are available to PEN America Members and the broader literary and advocacy communities.
Our PEN Across America initiative offers opportunities for Members and their allies to mobilize locally through public programming, campaigns, literary events, workshops, civic forums, and other projects that expand engagement with PEN America’s mission.
Please email [email protected]. We apologize that we cannot respond to every inquiry.
We very rarely accept unsolicited submissions. You can send materials for consideration to [email protected]. Given the volume of submissions we receive, we can respond only to materials under consideration for publication. We apologize that we cannot respond to all submissions.
For more information on specific PEN America programs, please visit:
Artists at Risk Connection
Free Expression News
Literary Gala (New York)
PEN America Los Angeles Gala
PEN Across America
Prison and Justice Writing Program
World Voices Festival
Writers’ Emergency Fund
Still need help? Contact us at [email protected] or call +1 (212) 334-1660.