awards grant to PEN American Center to support its domestic and international freedom of expression advocacy

New York, NY, September 14, 2009—PEN American Center has been awarded a $25,000 grant from to further develop its online communication resources and mobilize forces for freedom of expression throughout the world. This grant will support PEN’s international Freedom to Write human rights programming, its national Campaign for Core Freedoms, and the dissemination of PEN’s political and literary public events. A portion of the grant will also be used to support the PEN Translation Fund.

Over the last five years, new media has played a crucial role in the success of PEN American Center’s freedom of expression advocacy. The grant will enable the organization to strengthen considerably its online campaigns through the acquisition of state-of-the-arts new media and software. It will also help with the production and editing of video and audio material, and its distribution to a national and international audience.

Part of the grant will also help support the PEN Translation Fund, established in 2003 by PEN American Center in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English. The Fund’s purpose is to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English. Over its six-year existence, it has given grants for a total of 61 translations from 28 languages, including Armenian, Basque, Estonian, Farsi, Finland-Swedish, Lithuanian and Mongolian, as well as French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic.

Since 1921, International PEN has been the leading voice for writers and freedom of expression around the world. The oldest ongoing literary organization and the oldest human rights organization, PEN pioneered case-based human rights advocacy. By harnessing some of the world’s most influential literary voices and mobilizing an international network of literature and human rights supporters, PEN American Center, the largest of the 145 International PEN centers, carries on the public service achievements of such past members as James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O’Neill, Grace Paley, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck.

In addition to acting to secure the liberty and safety of imprisoned or persecuted writers around the world (Freedom to Write Program), to fight censorship in the U.S. (Campaign for Core Freedoms), and to promote literary translation (PEN Translation Fund), PEN American Center presents public programs and forums on political and literary issues, including the annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature; presents the PEN Literary Awards; sponsors an annual PEN Prison Writing Contest while providing writing instruction to prisoners nationally; and develops the skills and literary appreciation of talented New York City public high school students through the program Readers & Writers.

For more information on PEN American Center’s activities, visit

Linda Cicely Morgan
212 334-1660, ext. 113