MEDIA ADVISORY

(NEW YORK) — PEN America presents Words on Fire: Writing, Freedom, and the Future, an afternoon of urgent public conversation on the issues that drive the world’s leading free expression advocacy organization in this dire moment, on Monday, Sept. 12, at the New-York Historical Society. Led by PEN America President Ayad Akhtar and CEO Suzanne Nossel, the event, a highlight of the organization’s 100th anniversary year, gathers renowned authors who fight for truth, open discourse, and unfettered storytelling: Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Dave Eggers, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What: Words on Fire: Writing, Freedom, and the Future, a public PEN America centenary symposium

Who: Authors Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Dave Eggers, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; PEN America President Ayad Akhtar and CEO Suzanne Nossel

When: Mon., Sept. 12, 4-7pm

Where: In the Robert H. Smith Auditorium of the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West).

A livestream will be available at the PEN.org home page.

Additional Information

PEN America is at the forefront of pressing battles for free speech, addressing book bans, educational gag orders, free speech on campus and in the media, disinformation, online harassment and hate, self-censorship, rising authoritarianism, and the persecution of writers worldwide. The visionary thinkers participating in Words on Fire—in their literature, advocacy, lives, and vital contributions to our culture—have had an outsized impact on discussions of freedom of expression and those who trammel it. At the event, they will discuss how PEN America’s history of mobilizing writers, activists, and public intellectuals to defend open discourse can inform the fight for our freedoms today and into the future.

Originally set to feature Salman Rushdie, Words on Fire: Writing, Freedom, and the Future has taken on new significance in light of the barbarous attack on the author, a former PEN America President of PEN America and a co-founder of the annual PEN World Voices Festival.

The New-York Historical Society is also hosting the special installation PEN America at 100: a Century of Defending the Written Word, featuring artifacts, photos and letters from PEN America’s decades in defense of free speech, through October 9. Curated by PEN America Trustee Bridget Colman and Lisa Kolosek, PEN America at 100 traces the evolution of a dining club formed by a handful of well-known writers into the foremost organization defending the fundamental freedoms to write, read, and speak.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, STrimel@PEN.org, 201-247-5057