This recording comes from the PEN America Archives. Consisting of over 1800 hours of audio and video material, the PEN America Archives showcase 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 archives not only illustrate the institutional trajectory of PEN America, but also highlight the voices and words of poets, essayists, novelists, and others who resist the infringement of free expression. The entirety of the PEN America Archives will be made available online to the public this summer.

“If a writer is a good writer, he uncovers and records the loose ends, and if the state wants him to keep his trap shut, he does not conform or obey, but uncovers and records and therefore becomes a threat himself to the state that covers and envelops the loose ends.” —Bárbara Jacobs

Bárbara Jacobs discusses the role of the writer in the web of the state in this audio recording from the 1990 PEN America event, “The Literary Arts of Mexico: The Writer and the Web.”