Promote literary engagement in your community
apply to PEN America’s Literary Engagement Fund

At a juncture when communities are polarized and disengaged from one another, PEN America sees literature as a catalyst for empathy, a window into lives and contexts not our own, and a springboard for conversations that break down ideological barriers dividing our nation. The PEN America Literary Engagement Fund, part of PEN Across America, is now supporting PEN America Members and allies in communities across the country to bring writers and writing to this effort. The fund is helping local initiatives that facilitate community discourse on complex, often divisive social issues, amplify and empower the voices of marginalized communities, and share the power of literary expression. In addition to offering small grants, PEN America has experts on free expression, literary activism, and event planning ready to help.

We are currently accepting proposals for projects from individuals, organizations, and community groups to support activities that involve writing, journalism, and the literary community in promoting dialogue across difference. PEN America’s Literary Engagement Fund will provide grants of $500-$3,000 to support these activities between now and May 31, 2020.

Proposals may center on events, panel discussions and forums, campaigns, outreach efforts, educational initiatives, guest speakers, or other formats that can be effective in reaching local audiences. Priority will be given to proposals that have the potential to reach a significant and diverse audience, engage and sustain that audience over time, and facilitate partnerships with local groups and organizations. Past projects have included, for example, a town hall on the state of media truth and information access; a panel discussion on the representation of the Muslim-American experience; a reading series that spotlights work written by incarcerated individuals, laborers, and undocumented immigrant youth; and celebrations of both prominent and emerging voices in literature. We are looking to support programs that bring a range of new perspectives to urgent public cultural conversations. Apply today!