This recording comes from the PEN America Digital Archive. Consisting of over 1,500 hours of audio and video material, the archive showcases the intersection of literature and free expression through the voices of some of the most prominent writers, intellectuals, and activists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and in collaboration with Princeton University, the archive not only illustrates the institutional trajectory of PEN America, but also highlights the voices and words of poets, essayists, novelists, and others who resist the infringement of free expression. The entirety of the PEN America Digital Archive is free and accessible to the public.

For the month of August, to celebrate the birthday month of James Baldwin, we’re sharing weekly recordings from PEN America’s 2001 Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute to James Baldwin.  In this week’s recording, The New Yorker‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hilton Als speaks about the life of James Baldwin, and Als’s own relationship to Baldwin and his work. A written version of this piece is available here.