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 joined with Reporters Without Borders, Front Line Defenders, and the Narges Mohammadi Foundation to create the Free Narges Coalition, which is urgently calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Iranian writer Narges Mohammadi. Mohammadi, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, has been detained in Iran’s Evin prison since November 2021 — and a new case against her may further elongate her sentence.

  • PEN America launched U.S. Election Safety Summer, a free webinar series—co-organized with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation—that aims to empower journalists covering the U.S. elections with concrete strategies to protect themselves and one another. If you missed these sessions, you can still catch recordings of Risk Assessment and Planning for Journalists in the Field and Online Abuse Self-Defense

  • PEN America also launched an #ElectSafely campaign as part of our extensive engagement with the Coalition Against Online Violence (CAOV), a network of 85+ organizations worldwide. The campaign will provide crucial resources and guidance from members of the Coalition to protect and defend journalists against online abuse and other safety challenges.

  • Hadar Harris, Washington Managing Director,  joined a discussion at the American Society of International Law (ASIL) on challenges to freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia. The event provided an opportunity to elevate and amplify the findings of the Freedom to Write Index along with some of our cases of concern.

  • PEN America co-presented a Right to Read Celebration organized by The New Republic that featured writers whose books were banned, including Lauren Groff, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ellen Hopkins, George M. Johnson, Ashley Hope Perez, and Jacqueline Woodson, along with teachers, librarians, and students who have been directly impacted by the bans that are sweeping the country.

  • PEN America criticized the Vietnamese government for arresting writer Trương Huy San, demanding that he be released and that all charges against him be dismissed. “These oppressive tactics targeting free expression do great harm not only to the brave people who dare share opinions contrary to the government line but to society as a whole,” said PEN America research and advocacy manager Anh-Thu Vo.

  • PEN America condemned South Carolina’s decision to eliminate college credit and statewide funding for AP African American Studies. In an email that the state’s Department of Education sent to district superintendents, it cited “significant controversy surrounding the course” and “pending permanent legislation” as reasons for its choice. “This irresponsible decision cannot be separated from a national context in which Black history is under attack,” said Kasey Meehan, Freedom to Read program director at PEN America. 

See previous PEN America updates