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PEN American Center
Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a global literary community protecting free expression and celebrating literature. Learn more at

Entries by PEN American Center

Jewher Ilham: My Father, My Country

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 11:10 AM

2015-09-23-1443020911-5482239-14125475194_b18400f3c3_o.jpgThis week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Washington D.C. to meet with President Barack Obama. It will be President Xi's first state visit to the U.S. and an impressive--and tight--itinerary of bi-lateral talks, meetings, banquets and receptions await him. The visit will...

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A Most Deadly Profession

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 8:59 PM

By Shreya Balhara and Sarah Edkins

On July 31, Ruben Espinosa was found bound, tortured, and killed in Mexico City. Espinosa, a seasoned photojournalist who captured instances of police brutality, had fled his home in Veracruz state to the capital, the last supposed "safe zone" for journalists in...

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If Xi Jinping Threw a Book Party...

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 1:34 PM

2015-05-28-1432830727-5994246-xjp.jpgThis week, New York City plays host to BookExpo America (BEA), the publishing industry's biggest annual trade show. As authors, publishers and marketers gather by the thousands at the Javits Center, BEA will also honor China as the "Global...

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Hundreds Rally in New York for Release of Ilham Tohti

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 9:30 AM

Writers Protest Life Sentence for Uyghur Writer Who Has Committed No Crime

More than 200 supporters joined PEN American Center Monday night at a public candlelight vigil for Ilham Tohti, the Uyghur writer and scholar who was sentenced to life in prison on September 23 in China on unfounded charges...

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Children's Literature: The Case for Net Neutrality

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 6:43 PM

PEN joined a coalition of advocacy groups, led by Free Press, in New York on Monday to advocate for the Open Net and preserve net neutrality. Author Fatima Shaik, a member of PEN's Children's and Young Adult Committee, participated in the rally and gave this fiery speech.

"Writers use...

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What Does Literature Look Like Today?

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 10:59 AM

Norman Mailer's New York City is long gone, the artists are fleeing to New Jersey, and PEN American Center -- whose work had been championed by Grace Paley, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, and Arthur Miller, to name a few -- just turned 93. As the boundaries between personal and political,...

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Haiti: Free the Word

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 12:24 PM

PEN Haiti celebrated its 3rd Libérez la Parole festival of literature from July 18 to July 27 in the cities of Gonaives, Petit-Goave, and Thomassin, Haiti.

Each year, the festival is dedicated to a prominent Haitian author who was persecuted for his or her work. This year's festival was devoted...

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The PEN Ten With Michael F. Moore

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 12:02 PM

The PEN Ten is PEN America's biweekly interview series curated by Lauren Cerand. This week, Lauren talks with Michael F. Moore, the chair of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and an interpreter/translator from Italian. He has interpreted for popes, presidents, but no crowned heads....

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In Ethiopia, Protecting Yourself Online Is a Crime

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 6:34 PM

This post was written by PEN America's Freedom to Write Fellow Deji Olukotun.

Six Ethiopian bloggers were formally charged with terrorism in Ethiopia's Lideta High Court last week, a move provoking deep concern for hackers and human rights activists in Ethiopia and around the world. Three journalists were also charged...

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SHORTLISTED: The 2014 PEN Literary Awards

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 1:58 PM

Spanning fiction, essays, science writing, biography, sports writing, translation and children's books, the 2014 PEN Literary Awards celebrate the best of literature from around the world. PEN extends their congratulations to the writers and translators who have been recognized in this round of deliberations by its many distinguished and discerning...

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A Culture of Surveillance

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 2:40 PM

As we mark one year since the world was first introduced to Edward Snowden, PEN American Center looks back on how we first began to unpack the implications of the NSA surveillance programs he revealed. In November 2013, we asked 50 experts from across the globe a vital first question:...

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#FreeIlham: Writers Pose for a Cause

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 11:42 AM

On Monday, May 5, New York City's "Literati" gathered at the 2014 PEN American Center Literary Gala to honor Salman Rushdie, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and, most importantly, Chinese Uyghur writer Ilham Tohti, who is currently in prison for his peaceful advocacy of minority rights in China. As his daughter...

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PEN Ten with Molly Crabapple

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 12:11 PM

The PEN Ten is PEN America's biweekly interview series curated by Lauren Cerand. This week, Lauren talks to Molly Crabapple, whose 2013 solo exhibition, Shell Game, led to her being called "Occupy's greatest artist" by Rolling Stone. Her illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood will be published by Harper Collins in 2015.

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Crimes of the Past, Crimes of the Future

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 8:57 AM

In this excerpt from Honduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity, released by PEN International and PEN Canada on January 23, human rights defender and co-founder of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared and Detained in Honduras Bertha Oliva speaks of her experience...

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King, Obama and Surveillance Today

(7) Comments | Posted January 19, 2014 | 8:07 AM

This post was written by PEN America's Freedom to Write Fellow Deji Olukotun.

Would MLK approve of Obama's proposed surveillance reforms?

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it's worth remembering not only King's activism, but also the actions by our own government to suppress his vision. His achievements...

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7 Mind-Blowing Articles on Digital Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 10:39 AM

2013 has been a busy year for human rights and digital technologies. We've seen the rise of more sophisticated tools of repression and exciting new developments in digital security and freedom of expression. Every day, it seems, new technological developments and scandals promise to dramatically change the human rights landscape....

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Stories Most Feared by Chinese officials Will Still Be Told

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 4:37 PM

By Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

The Chinese government appears to be putting down its saber in the weeks-long showdown over two dozen American journalists from the New York Times and Bloomberg whose visa renewals were delayed over the last month. What appeared to be a standoff between China and the...

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Half of All Writers-at-Risk Persecuted for Use of Digital Media

(2) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 12:40 PM


PEN established the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer on November 15, 1981 to advocate for the often faceless underground editors, translators, political essayists, and dissidents whose work on the page might never make it out of their communities, let...

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The Slippery Slope of Self-Censorship in China

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 12:59 PM

This post was written by PEN America's Freedom to Write Fellow Deji Olukotun.


Andrew Jacobs's October 20 article in The New York Times provides a disturbing look at the long arm of China's censorship regime, and demonstrates how international writers...

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Growing Online Censorship Sparks Writers to Action

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 6:41 PM

This post, which originally appeared on, was written by PEN America's Freedom to Write Fellow Deji Olukotun.

ARPANETOn my desk, I have a 1977 map of ARPANET, the experimental predecessor to today's Internet. On the lower right hand corner, you...

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