“This brave, wise, succinct book is a must-read for writers, speakers, teachers, journalists, and, well, anyone who talks.”
Margaret Atwood, bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale

“Suzanne Nossel offers a much needed, cogent and compelling blueprint for reviving our stalled national conversation by helping all of us to speak, listen, and be heard.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton

“An authoritative, essential book.”
Salman Rushdie, bestselling author of The Golden House and The Satanic Verses

“In this essential volume, Suzanne Nossel passionately and convincingly argues for free speech, a liberty that is increasingly under attack throughout the world. Drawing on her experiences at the State Department and at PEN America, the author provides a critically important primer for those who seek to secure freedom of expression in our ‘diverse, digitalized, and divided culture.’”
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University


(New York, NY) — Free speech is under attack. Within these last few weeks alone, debates surrounding free speech have dominated headlines and fueled social media storms: the decimation of local newsrooms; firings and resignations on major opinion pages; Goya Food’s cancel culture controversy; the challenges of defending racial justice and free speech; disputes over falsehoods checking by social media platforms; and debates over what it means to defend the notion of free speech in 2020. Now more than ever we need a clear, concise guide to cut through the noise and explain what it will take to defend free speech in a diverse, digitized, and sharply divided nation. DARE TO SPEAK: Defending Free Speech for All by Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America (on-sale: 7/28; Dey Street Books Hardcover) fills that void and is a timely book that confronts the tensions roiling our public debate over free speech.

As a leading voice in support of free expression, Nossel draws on deep expertise on all matters free expression garnered in the legal arena, government, and the non-profit sector. Since joining PEN America in 2013, she has overseen groundbreaking work on free expression in Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Russia, and the United States. Her work and expertise encompass protest rights, press freedom, campus free speech, online harassment, the future of local news, and free speech online. DARE TO SPEAK is her official literary debut, but she frequently writes for The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, as well as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and Democracy.

In an interview, Nossel can speak about a multitude free speech pressure points:

Clashes Over Free Speech

    • Whether it’s the turmoil at The New York Times over Tom Cotton’s op-ed and Bari Weiss’ resignation, or the Harper’s letter on open debate or other incidents of cancel culture at publications and universities—DARE TO SPEAK is the first book to offer a comprehensive vision for how to cut through these tensions and understand how a more equal, inclusive and just society can be reconciled with free speech protections.

Social Faultlines

    • DARE TO SPEAK directly confronts raging controversies including the battle over the confederate flag; the cultural appropriation controversy over American Dirt; egregious lags in diversity in publishing and newsrooms; people like TV’s Nick Cannon and CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman being fired over allegations of offensive speech; and the Facebook advertiser boycott.
  • New Threats to Free Speech

    • The book also touches on the rise of misinformation and disinformation and what can be done about it; press freedom violations in the context of recent Black Lives Matter protests; President Trump’s attacks on journalists and efforts to suppress books from being published; the shrinking environment for free expression in Hong Kong; Chinese internet censorship and surveillance (including TikTok), content controversies at Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

Replete with insightful arguments, colorful examples, and salient advice, DARE TO SPEAK is both for warriors for social change and those who believe political correctness has run amok. It’s specifically crafted to appeal to and attract support from across the ideological spectrum. It’s also a perfect starting point for those who believe in free speech and want to make the case persuasively to those who question it. With 20 crisp and digestible principals—like “Defend Unpopular Speech,” “Consider When to Forgive Speech-Related Transgressions,” “Hold Tech Platforms Accountable for Their Influence on Public Discourse,” and “Beware Expanded Government Controls on Speech”—DARE TO SPEAK tackles how we can live together in our diverse, digitized and divided society without resorting to curbs on free speech.

SUZANNE NOSSEL is the CEO of PEN America, the foremost organization working to protect and advance human rights, free expression and literature. As CEO, Nossel has led campaigns for free expression in Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Russia, Eurasia, and the United States. Her career has spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Nossel has also served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA; and held senior State Department positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Nossel frequently writes op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications, as well as a regular column for Foreign Policy magazine.

Publicity Contacts: Julie Paulauski, [email protected] | Jeremy Wang-Iverson, [email protected]

PEN America Contact: Stephen Fee, [email protected]