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 condemned the reported assault and unjust arrest of Ismail Alghoul and called on the Israeli military to immediately and diligently investigate the circumstances of the case and make the findings public.
  • Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of PEN’s Writers at Risk program traveled with two recently exiled Iranian dissidents to Geneva, joining a coalition of Iranian and international human rights organizations calling on the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to extend the mandate of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Los Angeles Director Allison Lee was invited to debate the mayor of Huntington Beach, California, live in the CBS studio over a new library ordinance that creates a community committee to make kids’ book selections.
  • PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) released a statement expressing deep concern for the safety and well-being of artists and others across Russia, whose right to free expression is relentlessly being suppressed. This statement was made in response to over thirty artists’ homes and studios searched by state police ahead of the presidential election.

  • PEN America today criticized a decision by the Millburn School District in Illinois to pull out of the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award, a statewide program celebrating children’s literature, as “placing ideology over pedagogy or children’s needs.”
  • ARC participated in the event “What’s Next for Cuba?” reflecting on the outcomes of the UPR and future challenges. The event included remarks from the activist Kirenia Yalit, an artistic intervention from ARC and PEN International’s Cuban Migrant Artists Resilience Fellow, Nonardo Perea, and the showing of the documentary “Dos Patrias,” engaging the audience on the state of artistic freedom and human rights on the island. 

  • PEN America initiated a petition urging New York state prison authorities to grant P.M. Dunne’s request for protective custody or transfer to another facility, highlighting the imminent danger he faces due to threats on his life while incarcerated.
  • ARC, PEN International, and the PEN Club of Cuban Writers in Exile led a joint oral statement, along with other civil society organizations, following the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Cuban State. The statement highlighted cases of imprisoned artists such as Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Maykel Castillo Pérez, and Maria Cristina Garrido Rodriguez and urged member states to demand the immediate release of creatives imprisoned in Cuba, an end to forced exile, and that the Cuban State implement measures for the full exercise of human rights.

  • ARC also joined eight other organizations and civil society in a statement calling on the Cuban State to comply with the recommendations received during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The statement denounces the Cuban State’s rejection of 28 recommendations, which included requests for the release of political prisoners, the cessation of repression and harassment against dissident voices, the access of independent observers to trials and prisons, and the development of free and fair elections. 

See previous PEN America updates