PEN America Speaks: How We Defended and Celebrated Free Expression The Week of December 18
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 CEO Suzanne Nossel wrote for Time magazine about the dangers of curtailing free speech on campuses to solve the issue of rising antisemitism. “Amid the clamor to address antisemitism, free speech protections must remain recognized as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities rather than a sword to wound them.”
- PEN America launched an expanded effort, with support from Scholastic, to assist authors whose books have been banned with information, resources, and strategies for digital safety.
- PEN America’s Florida Director, Katie Blankenship, submitted a comment to the Florida Board of Governors, expressing concerns and urging reconsideration of its policy to implement Senate Bill 266, which could have a chilling effect on speech in universities.
- PEN America’s Artists at Risk Program condemned the scrutiny of artists for expressing their views on the Israel-Hamas conflict. ARC advocates for protecting spaces where art can be freely displayed and discussed, even amid conflicts and allegations of offense.
- PEN America Eurasia Director of Free Speech Polina Sadovskaya wrote about the crackdown on free expression in Georgia, within the Ministry of Culture, and calls for EU support to invest in civil society for restoring free speech and human rights.
- PEN America condemned the Wisconsin Legislature’s tactics that led the University of Wisconsin regents to freeze all diversity, equity and inclusion staffing until 2026. Jeremy C. Young, Freedom to Learn program director at PEN America, said: “Legislators threatening and punishing regents, faculty, and staff to promote the legislature’s ideology serves only one purpose: to create a climate of fear at universities that results in the silencing of ideas on campus.”
- Author Lisa Fipps interviewed Grace Linn, a 101-year-old, who created a quilt displayed in protest against the Martin County School Board’s ban of 84 books, expressing her opposition to book bans. Watch the video produced by PEN America’s Damarcus Adisa.
- PEN America supported the 30 global art house film organizations, festivals, and filmmakers who have signed an open letter urging Iranian authorities to drop charges against directors Maryam Moghadam and Behtash Sanaeeha, who face a trial and travel ban. PEN America has been advocating for the freedom of expression for artists and writers globally, highlighting Iran’s position as one of the leading jailers of writers and female writers on PEN America’s 2022 Freedom to Write Index.
- PEN America put out a reading list featuring the publications of our members from the year 2023. Order here.