MANHATTAN, NY, AUGUST 19, 2022 Paul Auster reads a passage from Salman Rushdie’s book at a PEN America rally at the New York Public Library in Manhattan, NY. Photo by ©Jennifer S. Altman All Rights Reserved


(NEW YORK) — PEN America mourns the death of prolific author and longtime friend of PEN Paul Auster, who died on Tuesday at age 77. Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said the following:

“In addition to shaping the worldviews of generations of Americans through his bracing and beloved novels, Paul Auster was a writer’s writer, consistently standing in solidarity with authors in China, Iran, Russia and around the world who were persecuted for what he was able to do freely: exercise his imagination and tell stories.  A dean of New York City’s literary community, he was a friend and mentor to many and a treasured colleague and stalwart supporter of PEN America and writers in need everywhere.”  

Auster, who once served as the Vice President and Secretary of PEN America, and his wife Siri Hustvedt have been active supporters of PEN America’s efforts on behalf of jailed writers worldwide. They joined other members of the literary community in PEN America’s event in support of Salman Rushdie after the horrific attempt on his life in 2022.

Auster participated in the PEN World Voices Festival and numerous other PEN events, including a 2009 event where he read a series of autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another where he read new poems from Liu Xiaobo, who received the 2009 PEN/ Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.