(New York, NY) — PEN America announced today that Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf has assumed the role of Senior Director of Literary Programs, leading the organization’s range of initiatives celebrating literary excellence and fostering a vibrant, book-centric culture. Rosaz Shariyf has led public programming efforts for the literary and free expression group since 2015, presenting a range of authors and thinkers in compelling conversation and uplifting and supporting emerging writers whose voices are a necessary corrective to our current moment.

“Clarisse has established a name for herself as one of the country’s most innovative, broad-ranging and magnetic literary leaders,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “Her foresight in terms of where the conversation needs to go next, ability to spot rising talent, profound dedication to remaking the canon, and ability to foster bracing, unexpected literary conversations and encounters is unmatched. She has been a force for excellence and transformation within PEN America and will drive that forward to even greater heights in this larger role.”

Rosaz Shariyf’s signature achievements at PEN include transforming the PEN American Literary Awards into an expanded, higher-profile national showcase while working to ensure that the widest breadth of writers are recognized and elevated. She has also developed PEN America’s signature PEN Out Loud event series and taken it from New York City to a national scale, as well as piloted the organization’s M Word program focused on spotlighting Muslim American Voices. In her new role, Rosaz Shariyf will also help lead the PEN World Voices Festival, PEN Presents, as well as a range of programs to support new writers’ including DREAMing Out Loud for undocumented young people, the Worker Writers School, and other initiatives.

“Being part of this incredible literary community in the U.S. right now couldn’t be more of a privilege,” said Rosaz Shariyf. “Authors and writers are the conscience of our time, casting light on sometimes harsh truths and society at a moment when more empathy and sustained dialogue across differences and borders are necessary. There is much work to do and I hope to continue leading PEN America to be a place for cutting-edge conversation and debate, as well as a robust community for writers, readers, and Members across America to uphold the freedom to write.”

Before joining PEN America in 2015, Rosaz Shariyf previously led public programs at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library. There she launched the Center’s innovative digital programming strategy with groundbreaking conversations on contemporary social justice issues with leading edge writers, artists, and scholars.

With her new role, Rosaz Shariyf joins PEN America’s senior leadership team. She holds an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago and an MA in English civilization from the University of the French West Indies.