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With free expression under siege in the United States, online, and around the world, PEN America understands the stakes

  • There is a growing awareness of freedom of expression as crucial to preserving democracy and stabilizing a precarious globe
  • Free speech is the failsafe of open societies and essential to the creation of literature
  • Writers are the canaries in the coal mine, without whom injustice and repression go unchallenged
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The Centenary Campaign will enable PEN America to tackle two mission critical challenges:

  • Address emerging and evolving threats: meet this moment with a nuanced and comprehensive approach
  • Shape the future: fortify the stakeholders, norms and structures that will undergird robust protections for free speech and open discourse over time
Writers Congress 2022

PEN America’s Centenary Campaign will support five key priorities, while preparing PEN America for a second century of groundbreaking work

  1. Respond rapidly to emerging crises and fight back against threats in real-time combining in-house subject matter expertise with communications capacity
  2. Leverage integrated research, advocacy and campaigning to achieve larger scale victories at the local, national, and international levels
  3. Enable all voices to be heard and drive forward pathbreaking efforts toward literary inclusivity
  4. Mobilize an interconnected, global PEN network with an expanded membership and deep local roots across the United States to celebrate literary culture and catalyze advocacy
  5. Safeguard PEN America for the next century with internal capacity and endowment funds that will create sustainable revenue to support multiple initiatives

Support PEN America's
Centenary Campaign today

Learn More About the 100 Year History of PEN America

Celebrate with us

Catch "PEN America at 100" at the New-York Historical Society | July 22 - October 9, 2022


New-York Historical Society

PEN America at 100: Celebrating a Century of Defending the Written Word 1922-2022, a new exhibit curated by PEN America trustee Bridget Colman with Lisa Kolosek, celebrates the centenary of PEN America and provides an in-depth look at its complex, inspiring, and powerful history over the last 100 years. What began in the aftermath of World War I as an international literary club with the intent of providing intellectual community among poets, playwrights, editors, essayists, and novelists has evolved into a consequential organization at the forefront of the global defense of free expression. Themes such as internationalism, censorship, and human rights inform this exhibition that explores PEN America’s considerable history and enduring mission to promote a diverse literary culture and protect the freedom to write. Esteemed members from Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Susan Sontag, and Toni Morrison to today’s President Ayad Akhtar trace PEN America’s history through letters, photographs, prizes, and posters. These archival treasures bring to life a vital literary community united over 100 years to protect essential liberties and honor the creativity they make possible. Curated by Bridget Colman with Lisa Kolosek.

PEN America at 100 will be open at the New-York Historical Society from July 22, 2022 to October 9, 2022.

Attend the Event Series Celebrating Critical Moments in the History of Free Speech

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Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture and Society

Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture & Society is an event series that will present the fascinating and complex history of free speech in American democracy to public audiences in cities across the country. The series will examine how free speech has evolved, illuminate past debates over who has the right to speak and shed light on present debates about free speech in the context of protest, dissent, and the quest for social change.

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