PEN America Speaks: How We Defended and Celebrated Free Expression The Week of November 27
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 launched twin reports, The Florida Effect and The California Effect, to demonstrate how many of the most meaningful policy decisions affecting freedom of expression are playing out at the state level. The developments illustrate how, with the U.S. Congress largely paralyzed, critical measures affecting free speech are now being designed and implemented at the state level, reshaping public discourse. Policies introduced in the two states are shaping the boundaries of speech on issues from the teaching of history and social media regulation to press freedom and protest rights.
- PEN America wrote an open letter, signed by hundreds of the world’s most prominent writers, artists, human rights activists, allies, and civil society organizations, calling for the immediate release of jailed Iranian human rights activist and writer Narges Mohammadi before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, scheduled to be held in Oslo on December 10.
- PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel was interviewed by NPR about the issue of campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war. She spoke about ensuring free speech and defending against antisemitism and Islamaphobia on campuses. Listen here.
- PEN America joined Children’s Defense Fund, Students Engaged in Advancing Texas (SEAT), ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, EveryLibrary, Texas Freedom to Read Project, and the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) in supporting Texas students defending the freedom to read in response to HB 900. This controversial Texas law requires book vendors to rate books for sexual content before selling them to public schools.
- PEN America condemned the removal of all LGBTQ+ books for children from the public library in St. Marys, Kansas. Kasey Meehan, Freedom to Read program director at PEN America, said it was “deeply disturbing for the city government to hold the library’s lease hostage to purge its shelves of LGBTQ+ books.”
- PEN America announced that its Annual General Meeting on Dec. 11 would focus on Conversation Amid Crisis: Sustaining Dialogue in Divided Times, with a panel of experts, including award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer Zaina Arafat; journalist and translator Yair Rosenberg; journalist, editor, and cultural critic Judith Shulevitz; writer and former Director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group Nathan Thrall; and author, lawyer, and equity advocate Kenji Yoshino.