PEN America works tirelessly to defend free expression, support persecuted writers, and promote literary culture. Here are some of the latest ways PEN America is speaking out.

  • PEN America announced the cancellation of its annual Literary Awards ceremony, and released the names of its 2024 award finalists and winners. After nine of the 10 authors recognized as nominees for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award withdrew their work from consideration, the Estate of Jean Stein directed PEN America to donate the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein award to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

  • PEN America announced the cancellation of its 2024 World Voices Festival. The decision to cancel was not taken lightly, particularly given the very mission of PEN America to elevate writers and foster dialogue across differences. We are committed to hosting a Town Hall in the near future to wrestle with the issues gripping the literary community and our own organization, and will share details on that soon.

  • Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), PEN America, and Index on Censorship strongly condemned the death sentence imposed on Iranian rapper and human rights defender Toomaj Salehi for “spreading corruption on Earth” issued by a revolutionary court in Tehran. 
  • In response to student protest at Columbia University and elsewhere, PEN America called on campus leaders to adhere to the following key principles: safeguarding free speech and students’ right to engage in peaceful protest; addressing alarming incidents of antisemitism and standing firm against hate; and ensuring a campus environment that is safe and open to all.  

  •  Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), PEN America, Cartooning for Peace, Cartoonists Rights, and the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation condemned the violent arrest of Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani and call for her immediate release from Evin prison. 

See previous PEN America updates