New York City, October 14, 2009—Writers took the stage with lawyers and former interrogators last night to read from the mounting public record documenting the torture of detainees in U.S. custody since September 11, 2001. The event, held in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York, featured selections from formerly secret—and often still heavily redacted—government documents and legal memorandums and first-hand accounts by victims of abuse and by American servicemen and women and intelligence officers who witnessed and protested the treatment.

Nell Freudenberger, Don DeLillo, David Cole, Art Spiegelman, Eve Ensler, George Saunders, Jonathan Ames, A.M. Holmes, Jack Rice, Amrit Singh, Matthew Alexander, Paul Auster, Susanna Moore, and Ishmael Beah read the selections, and four former Guantánamo detainees spoke via videotape about their experiences.

The evening ended on a note of hope, however. With an investigation underway in the U.S. Department of Justice, PEN and the ACLU called the 700 audience members to action, encouraging them to send a letter calling for full accountability.

Photos, audio, and transcipts of the event can be found here.

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. PEN’s Campaign for Core Freedoms works to: protect personal privacy; preserve public access to information and a full range of voices from the United States and around the world; and promote policies that reflect a core commitment to human rights.

Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105