NEW YORK—In response to criticism of the Women’s March leadership regarding comments made by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel issued the statement below:

“In 2017 the PEN/Goodale Free Expression Courage Award was given to honor the millions of individuals who stood up in defense of human rights, dignity, and justice around the world as part of the Women’s March. The award was accepted at the annual PEN America Literary Gala by Bob Bland, one of the originators of the idea for the march who carried her vision forward to realize a powerful global mobilization. PEN America stands by our support of the millions who carried that mobilization forward and of the spirit behind the Women’s March, and rejects association with discriminatory and hateful messages that run counter to the values of that movement, including the discriminatory comments made by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.”


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.


Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: