As we work to combat the threats that the current political climate poses to free expression, PEN America aims to further engage and celebrate the writers whose voices we serve to protect.

Writers are the lifeblood of PEN America; we have always relied on our Membership of writers to strengthen our advocacy work. We will continue to harness the collective power of writers’ voices to fight for free expression. But as our community faces renewed threats to free expression at home and abroad, PEN America is asking writers who are able to give a more tangible contribution.

PENnames is a circle of writers and journalists who commit to prioritizing support for PEN America. We hope to afford writers an opportunity to be politically engaged in a manner that feels meaningful to the literary community and to acknowledge those writers who provide financial contributions that sustain our work defending the freedom to write.

PENnames consists of four giving levels. At each level, your contribution will allow us to realize a host of crucial projects, some of which are listed below:


  • Provides immigration support and visa filing fees to help a threatened writer get to a safe place.
  • Helps PEN America create a toolkit to be shared with writers nationwide, helping them to identify impingements on free expression and to advocate for themselves.
  • Provides a grant to a professional writer facing an acute crisis.


  • Provides assistance to a PEN center on the front lines of the fight for free expression in an emerging or threatened area such as Myanmar, Haiti, or Ukraine.
  • Pays for travel and lodging that enable a writer from an underrepresented country to participate in the PEN America World Voices Festival, the only international literary festival in the country with a free expression focus.
  • Funds an eight-week creative writing workshop for DREAMers led by acclaimed novelist Álvaro Enrigue, culminating in the opportunity to share their work at a PEN America World Voices Festival event.


  • Underwrites a PEN America public program aimed to amplify marginalized voices, such as incarcerated individuals in our PEN Prison Writing Program.
  • Brings PEN America to a college or university to host a symposium on campus speech.
  • Sponsors our New Members/New Books party, an annual event that helps foster literary community-building.


  • Launches an advocacy campaign for a threatened or imprisoned writer.
  • Helps fund one of our widely cited reports on threats to free expression at home and abroad.
  • Enables us to work with PEN America Members in different locations across the country to establish local chapters that host their own events and bring PEN America’s message to their communities.

As with our PEN America President’s Circle, we offer several benefits for PENnames supporters in recognition of their contributions. All PENnames supporters will be entitled to:

  • Complimentary PEN America Professional Membership.
  • Invitations to private events, including the PEN America World Voices Festival opening night cocktail reception.
  • Invitation to the PEN America New Members/New Books party, a gathering of more than 350 established and up-and-coming writers.
  • Preferred seating and access to the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony and reception.
  • Preferred seating and early access, when available, to PEN America programs, such as the annual PEN Prison Writing Program showcase, the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, and other PEN America World Voices Festival events.
  • Complimentary tickets to PEN America’s pop-up events and public programs.
  • Inclusion, if desired, in an honor roll acknowledgement in the PEN America Literary Gala journal and other appropriate published literature of the organization.
  • Invitation to annual reception with the PEN America Board of Trustees.
  • Early sign-up for the PEN America Winter Authors’ Evenings prior to the program’s official announcement.

For more information, please contact Development Manager Kylia Cassone at [email protected] or (646) 981-0681.