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 published an open letter to the community regarding the war in Gaza, reaffirming its commitment to diverse viewpoints and outlining steps to move forward, including dialogue and expanded support for Palestinian writers with a substantial financial contribution to the Netherlands-based PEN Emergency Fund for distribution to Palestinian writers in need.
  • PEN America strongly condemned the reported assault and arrest of Al Jazeera correspondent Ismail Alghoul by Israeli forces in Gaza, calling for an immediate investigation into the incident and emphasizing the importance of press freedom. 
  • Madison Markham, program assistant for the Freedom to Read team, wrote about the new legislation that would increase censorship K-12 schools encompasses a wide array of measures, from “Don’t Display Gay” bills targeting LGBTQ+ expression to attempts to introduce anti-communism education reminiscent of McCarthyism, all posing significant threats to free expression and academic freedom.
  • James Tager, Research Director at PEN, wrote about the China scandal over the Hugo Awards. Leaked emails expose how Hugo Award administrators compiled political dossiers on authors to avoid Chinese censorship, sacrificing the integrity of the award and revealing the insidious impact of self-censorship in the face of political pressure.
  • Jonathan Friedman appeared in a special, Read or Restrict, about the controversy in Indiana over book bans. 
  • The Artists at Risk Connection at PEN America expressed deep concern over the recent raids on artists’ homes and studios by Russia’s Federal Security Service.
  • PEN America sent a letter to members of the Dorchester School District 2 School Board in South Carolina regarding its response to a book-banning activist’s demand that 572 titles be removed from the district.
  • EveryLibrary and PEN America opposed a proposed ordinance in Huntington Beach, California, establishing a community review board for children’s library materials, denouncing it as censorship that infringes on First Amendment rights and undermines the expertise of librarians. 
  • PEN America and multiple human rights organizations urged support for renewing the mandates of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran’s human rights situation and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran, emphasizing their critical roles in addressing ongoing human rights violations and systemic impunity in the country.
  • PEN America and human rights organizations urged the UNHRC to extend the mandate of the FFMI, highlighting its crucial role in documenting human rights violations in Iran, alongside the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, as outlined in a joint letter sent to Member states.
  •  For World Poetry Day, James Tager was quoted in an article highlighting the threats and censorship that Asian poets face. “Tibetan writers and poets who persist in sharing the contents of their heart, despite heavy-handed government censorship and retaliation, show tremendous courage and resilience. They also play a critical role in society by preserving and elevating Tibetan culture.”
  • Arizona chapter leader Michelle Beaver wrote in the Arizona Mirror about the threat of disinformation and how to protect yourself. 

See previous PEN America updates