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Israel and Gaza

PEN America joins the literary community in sorrow and outrage over the war and humanitarian crisis in Israel and Gaza. We mourn the immense loss of Palestinian lives, including authors, poets, artists, and journalists, and the destruction of museums, libraries, and mosques that contribute to a vibrant cultural community. We share the ongoing anguish of Israelis whose families and friends have been killed or taken hostage, and who are living under threat.  We have called for an immediate ceasefire and release of the hostages —  an agreement that can pave the way for urgent humanitarian access and lasting peace.

Our work on the war in Gaza has focused on three areas: advocacy, support for writers, and convening writers and members of the public for dialogue and exchange. We have spoken out on a wide range of topics related to the war and its reverberations and offered direct, confidential assistance to individual Palestinian writers and artists. We recently established an Emergency Fund through the Netherlands-based PEN Emergency Fund for distribution to Palestinian writers in need. 


PEN America is working with the PEN Emergency Fund to provide direct financial assistance to Palestinian writers. PEN America has launched a dedicated fund initially set at $100,000, to be administered by the PEN Emergency Fund, to support writers affected by the war. This is in addition to PEN America’s existing small aid fund available to writers in all geographies who are in dire need. The emergency fund is available to provide short-term assistance to writers, and grants can be used to cover basic expenses, housing, travel, medical and mental health costs, and other related expenses. Learn more about the PEN Emergency Fund here.


We respect those who have communicated with us, publicly and privately, about the current Gaza war, and recognize the profound stakes and pain involved. In light of recent feedback and criticism, we wrote this letter to the community with the hope of moving forward together with as many writers as possible, in service of our mission. Read more >>

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Israeli and Palestinian Writers and Artists: The Toll of War

The profiles on this page are of writers, artists, journalists, and thinkers caught in the violence  of war between Israel and Hamas. Some have died. Others are missing, injured, or otherwise struggling to survive. We are committed to preserving their legacy and amplifying their work, both as a means of honoring them and as a method of fostering connection and communication. Read more >> 

PEN America Statements

PEN America Town Hall: Conversation Amid Crisis