PEN America Speaks: How We Defended and Celebrated Free Expression The Week of October 9
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 welcomed the decision by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to roll back its recently promulgated “approved vendors” policy for books. The free expression and literary organization had strongly criticized the policy as censorious, due to its potential to limit books distributed in prisons. Following an earlier statement, PEN America said policies that limit reading materials for incarcerated people constitute censorship.
- PEN America said it deplored the premeditated and vicious attack launched against Israeli civilians, resulting in more than 900 deaths, countless wounded and scores kidnapped, held hostage, and unaccounted for. We are particularly affronted by the murderous assault on a peaceful music festival, a cultural event and celebration of artistic expression turned into a killing field.
- PEN America, alongside PEN International and the Vietnamese Abroad PEN Centre, jointly submitted a Universal Periodic Submission (UPR) on Vietnam, documenting violations of free expression, cultural rights, privacy, due process, and arbitrary detention. Through the UPR process, we encourage the United Nations Human Rights Council and its Member States to closely examine Vietnam’s recent track record on free expression and provide concrete recommendations, which could lead to significant improvements in the lives of all Vietnamese citizens.
- PEN America welcomed proposed legislation that would help the United States hold governments accountable worldwide for silencing, intimidating, and assaulting political dissidents, including writers and artists, living in the United States. The Stop Transnational Repression Act, introduced last week by Congressman Adam Schiff, would help to protect free expression and human rights worldwide.
- PEN America Los Angeles presented beloved author Justin Torres upon the release of his new novel, Blackouts, in conversation with Angela Flournoy.