Timed for Election Season, PEN America Launches Free Speech 2020

 

George Orwell statue at the headquarters of the BBC courtesy of Matt Brown under CC BY 2.0

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”, words from George Orwell’s proposed preface to Animal Farm (1945)



PEN America launches Free Speech 2020, a yearlong initiative to mobilize writers and readers to elevate free speech issues and defend free expression throughout this election season. Deploying on social media and at PEN.org, the initiative will feature Q&As with presidential candidates, authors, and activists about the value of free speech; research profiling the major threats to free expression in the U.S.; and resources to guide PEN America Members and partners to defend against those threats. Free Speech 2020 will also mobilize PEN America Members and supporters across the country with a series of events, trainings, and conversations about the importance of protecting our right to speak.

With this ” . .  . the American people start making their voices heard [with the kick-off of] an election season that promises to be a pivotal moment for free expression in this country. That’s why we feel it’s the perfect time to unify our commitment to defending free speech under this organization-wide initiative,” said Summer Lopez, senior director of Free Expression Programs at PEN America. “We’ll be building on our existing work and expanding our national footprint to fight for free expression across the country.”

Free Speech 2020 will continue through November, highlighting four major themes:

  • Defending press freedom. PEN America will build on its landmark report on the local news crisis; continue fighting in the courts to defend press freedom; conduct trainings and assemble resources for reporters to know their rights; and lead nationwide media literacy trainings.
  • Combatting disinformation. PEN America will partner with tech companies, government entities, and parties and candidates from across the political spectrum to push back against misleading information. The organization will also lead media literacy trainings, build on its pathbreaking disinformation report, and call on the digital platforms to step up their efforts to battle false information.
  • Fighting online harassment. PEN America will fan out across the country to engage with writers, journalists, and newsroom leaders in the best practices to strike back against online abuse, which imperils free speech and free dialogue. The organization will build on its Online Harassment Field Manual and additional resources.
  • Upholding protest rights. PEN America will speak out against violations of the constitutional right to demonstrate throughout the election cycle, fightingrestrictions such as the DC Mall Protest Tax, and will also publish research on legislative trends that threaten the right to protest.

“We’re at a key inflection point in the U.S., and this election season is already bringing new and unique threats to free speech,” said Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. Free Expression Programs at PEN America. “Across the country and across our digital platforms, we’re mobilizing to stand up for the public’s right to speak out and the public’s right to know. As writers, readers, and defenders of the written word, that’s our driving mission this election year.”

Through February, PEN America will be featuring Q&As with presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang (PEN America has contacted all major-party candidates for interviews). Also this month, PEN America will include video, audio, and web interviews with authors about their perspectives on free speech in 2020, which kicked off with an interview from author Mira Jacob.

For more information, visit pen.org/free-speech-2020.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Jamie Dedes:

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“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Poet An Ran Detained for Defending Chinese Muslims

The Huaisheng Mosque’s construction is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad’s second cousin, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas / Public Domain

“Islam has been practiced in Chinese society for 1,400 years. Muslims are a minority group in China, representing between 0.45% to 2.85% of the total population according to the latest estimates.  Though Hui Muslims are the most numerous group, the greatest concentration of Muslims is in Xinjiang, with a significant Uyghur population. Lesser but significant populations reside in the regions of Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominantly Sunni Muslim.” Islam in China, Wikipedia MORE



The detention of Muslim poet Cui Haoxin, also known by his pen name An Ran, is clear retaliation for his outspoken defense of Chinese Muslims, says PEN America.. On January 24, Chinese authorities detained poet and author An Ran in the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, under accusations of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.” Such a charge is often employed by Chinese police as a catch-all provision against critics of government policy.

Days prior to his detention, An Ran tweeted his reaction to a story of a Hui Muslim woman who was detained by authorities in China and sent to an internment camp. An Ran retweeted the story and discussed personal experiences with Chinese authorities, mentioning his past detentions and the experience of others who have been surveilled and detained. The poet is a vocal supporter of minority rights. He has used his social media presence and his writing to raise awareness on stories of human rights abuses, including the dire human rights situation for Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

“While we don’t know what precisely triggered An Ran’s detention this time, it is patently obvious that he is being targeted yet again for his courage in acting as a voice of conscience against the government’s treatment of Muslim minorities, particularly the forced internment of millions of Uyghurs, Hui, and other ethnic groups,” said James Tager, deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America. “The Chinese government must truly fear the power of free speech to engage in such repeated targeting of An Ran for his writing and his social media commentary. We call on Chinese authorities to immediately release An Ran and drop all charges leveled against him.”

Chinese authorities have repeatedly arrested and harassed An Ran in the last two years. In April 2018, while en route to a weeklong “re-education” course, An Ran was singled out for a search and questioned, detained, and then released. Four months later, police intimidated An Ran by conducting an illegal raid on his home, and attempted to censor his use of social media. In November 2018, authorities yet again questioned and detained An Ran for writing about religious repression in China on social media.

The Chinese government continues to deepen their crackdown against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, including Hui people. While authorities claim they are acting to combat Muslim extremism, numerous observers—including PEN America—have reported that the government’s policies are instead aimed at suppressing the cultural identity of Uyghurs and other minorities. PEN America has analyzed the digital rights situation in Xinjiang in its March 2018 report Forbidden Feeds, and has called the current situation in Xinjiang “one of the greatest human rights catastrophes occurring today, with massive implications for the right to free expression.”

A report on Radio Free Asia (RFA) indicates that while ” . . . Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, Chinese officials have more recently begun describing the facilities as ‘boarding schools’ that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage “radicalization,” and help protect the country from terrorism.

“But reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media outlets indicate that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.

“RFA has confirmed dozens of cases of deaths in detention or shortly after release since the internment system began, and while only a handful can be definitively linked to torture or abuse, several appear to be the result of “willful negligence” by authorities who do not provide access to sufficient treatment or of poor camp conditions that exacerbate an existing medical condition.” MORE

This post is complied courtesy of PEN America, Radio Free Asia (Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036), and Wikipedia.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Radio Free Asia’s mission is to provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press. RFA is funded through an annual grant from the United States Agency for Global Media, an independent U.S. agency; RFA has a legislative firewall that bars interference by U.S. government officials in the execution of RFA’s mission of providing reliable journalism to audiences otherwise deprived of uncensored, accurate press.


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Six New Regional Chapters of PEN America to further mobilize activism and organizing within the greater writing community

American bison (Bison bison bison) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States. Only a week after this photo was taken, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, officially making the American bison the national mammal of the United States. Please also notice the moose photobombing the bison on the left / photo courtesy © Frank Schulenburg under CC BY-SA 4.0

“I’m proud and thrilled that PEN America is working actively to foster and support literary culture in six critical regions and create a home for writers, readers, and advocates. I look forward to joining with our members to insist upon the cultural and civic value of literary expression, and protect the freedoms that make it possible—locally, nationally, and internationally.” Jennifer Egan, President of PEN America



PEN America, the organization of writers and readers advancing free expression and celebrating the power of literature, announced today the launch of six regional chapters across the United States. These new chapters – in Austin, Birmingham, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, and Tulsa – are led by PEN America members and extend the reach of PEN America’s New York headquarters and offices in Washington and Los Angeles.

“At a time of exceptional threats to free expression and open discourse, our chapters will bring years of mobilization, activism and organizing among writing communities across the country to the next level. We are exceptionally proud of the local leaders who are driving forward this effort,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “With 7,500 members across the country and tens of thousands of allies, our movement – called PEN Across America – is pushing back against the breakdown of civil discourse, the marginalization of vital voices, and encroachments on press freedom, driving forward PEN America’s mission at a time when it has never been more essential.’’

For nearly 100 years, PEN America has worked as an association of novelists, non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, others from the literary community, and readers to protect and celebrate free expression. PEN America campaigns to free writers imprisoned around the world, monitors press freedom, elevates emerging writers and honors prominent authors, and addresses contested speech on campuses, fraudulent news, hate speech, online harassment, and the other complexities of expression in our digital age. The launch of these new chapters brings members together to stage writers in conversations, advocacy campaigns, public debates, and more, drawing on PEN America’s national resources and the creative energy and priorities of the local literary community.

The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks. / Illustration courtesy of Peter K Burian under CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

“Readers are my people, and one of the chief delights of going on a book tour is connecting with communities of readers and writers across America,” said PEN America President Jennifer Egan. “I’m proud and thrilled that PEN America is working actively to foster and support literary culture in six critical regions and create a home for writers, readers, and advocates. I look forward to joining with our members to insist upon the cultural and civic value of literary expression, and protect the freedoms that make it possible—locally, nationally, and internationally.”

After the 2016 presidential election, PEN America became convinced that the organization’s mission to both celebrate and defend free expression demanded reaching beyond the coasts. The groundwork for these new chapters has been laid through convenings, partnerships, and dozens of events PEN America has supported in 20-plus cities during the last two years — from advocacy-themed open mics and local author conversations at independent bookstores to meet-your-newsmaker gatherings and interactive media literacy workshops.

The new chapters will be helmed by literary leaders who emerged during this preparatory phase of PEN Across America, and already have a rich network of writers, academics, librarians, booksellers, activists, and other allies in their communities. The Austin chapter will be headed by Chaitali Sen, author of the novel The Pathless Sky, and Tim Staley, who leads the Austin Public Library Foundation. Poets Ashley M. Jones and Alina Stefanescu will lead the Birmingham branch. In Dallas/Fort Worth, novelist and scholar Sanderia Faye will take the reins of that region’s chapter, alongside Deep Vellum publisher, translator, and bookstore owner Will Evans. In Detroit, writer and social worker Amber Ogden takes on the chapter alongside PEN America Literary Award Winner, Jonah Mixon-Webster. In North Carolina, writer and performer Deonna Kelli Sayed will lead the PEN America Piedmont Region. And the Tulsa group will be led by author and editor Jeff Martin, founder and executive director of the Tulsa Literary Coalition and Magic City Books.

“Since our founding in 1922, our greatest strength has been our Membership – a community of writers and readers committed to celebrating literary excellence, defending free expression, and protecting persecuted writers,” said PEN America’s Director of Membership Rebecca Werner. “Rather than pre-ordaining a select list of geographies, to build these chapters we have worked hand-in-hand with local leaders, focusing on the communities that have been most energized and organized as the leading edge in our drive to become a more fully national organization.”

This post is courtesy of PEN America and Wikipedia.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Honoring Dauntless Truthtellers

Lupita Nyong’o / presented Anita Hill with the 2019 PEN Courage Award at the American Literary Gala on Tuesday at the American Museum of Natural History

2019 PEN America Literary Gala hosted by John Oliver featured speeches from Lupita Nyong’o, Alec Baldwin, Robert Caro, Lina and Walid Al-Hathloul, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel, and PEN America President Jennifer Egan. Gala Raises Over $2.6 Million for PEN America’s Work to Defend Freedom of Expression



At the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Tuesday, PEN America gathered leaders in literature, journalism, media, activism, and culture at the 2019 PEN America Literary Gala. The role of lone individuals in using written and spoken words to unmask and upend power was on potent display in honorees including professor, lawyer, activist, and Chair of The Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality Anita Hill; history-making investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward; writer-activists and women’s rights champions Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan, imprisoned for opposing the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia and punished for their role in overturning the country’s ban on women driving; and Scholastic Chairman and CEO Richard Robinson, recognized for leading the company’s charge to inform the next generation and inspire them to be empathetic, engaged citizens. The night was emceed by comedian John Oliver.

Seated among guests in the Museum’s Millstein Hall of Ocean Life were this year’s literary hosts, luminaries of the writing community who attended to support and help advance PEN America’s mission: Uwem Akpan, Rumaan Alam, Casey Barrett, Preet Bharara, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Carolyn Burke, Robert A. Caro, Roz Chast, Ron Chernow, Susan Choi, Erica Dawson, Masha Gessen, Peter Godwin, Robie H. Harris, James Hannaham, David Henry Hwang, Min Jin Lee, Hari Kondabolu, Hari Kunzru, Kevin Kwan, Jay McInerney, Dinaw Mengestu, Paul Muldoon, Lynn Nottage, Gregory Pardlo, Jodi Picoult, Phoebe Robinson, Aidan Donnelley Rowley, Salman Rushdie, Mona Simpson, Zadie Smith, Gay Talese, Vicky Ward, and Tara Westover. Other notable guests included Carl Bernstein, Candace Bushnell, Tonya Lewis Lee, Cynthia McFadden, Nicolle Wallace, and Robert Costa.

Time’s Up is a movement against sexual harassment and was founded on January 1, 2018, by Hollywood celebrities[2] in response to the Weinstein effect and #MeToo. As of December 2018, it has raised more than $22 million for its legal defense fund, and gathered nearly 800 volunteer lawyers
Anita Hill

Academy Award-winning actress and Sulwe author Lupita Nyong’o presented Anita Hill with the 2019 PEN Courage Award, conferred each year for dauntless exercises of free expression, in recognition of Hill’s singular role in challenging sexual harassment in the workplace and the attendant abuse of power. “As an organization that protects and amplifies the voices that those in power seek to silence, it is fitting that PEN America honors Anita Hill tonight,” said Nyong’o. “She had no safety in numbers. She was one woman calling Time’s Up decades before the wider society was ready to blow the whistle. She made her accusations against a man who would sit on the nation’s highest court and wield power for decades to come. Twenty-eight years later, amid an unstoppable wave of personal revelation and truth-telling that emulates Hill’s initial heroic act, a paradigm shift is occurring. With the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, we can speak together.”

Following an extended standing ovation, Anita Hill gave a speech tracing the significance of using her voice as a force for change: “As a descendant of a people who just a few generations before me were by law prohibited from learning to read and write, tonight’s honor is particularly meaningful. By virtue of her race, my maternal grandmother, born in 1870, was never offered a public education, and therefore never learned to read or write. But she saw to it that my mother, born in 1911, went to school, read throughout her life, and wrote. She wrote letters to me regularly during my college years. And her letters typically chronicled farm life, church life, and family life. Though she passed away years ago, when I read her letters, I hear her voice. Yet I also wonder what she might have written if she had felt truly free to express all aspects of her life…I am here today to say that I have my voice. And my ancestors’ story reminds me that I must never take having my voice for granted, and I must never abuse it. It’s taken generations to gain this privilege, the privilege I have to write and to speak out with the truth, and to speak truth to power. It’s taken that long, and I will never, ever give it up.”

Carl Bernstein

Two-time Pulitzer Prize and two-time National Book Award winning journalist and author Robert Caro (The Power Broker, The Years of Lyndon B. Johnson) introduced peerless investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward, winner of the 2019 PEN America Literary Service Award for his 47 years of work at the Washington Post and 19 bestselling nonfiction books. His writings have held the White House accountable for decades—and moved citizens across the political spectrum to do the same. Presenting the award, Caro spoke of the journalistic triumph of breaking the Watergate Scandal, which he and his partner Carl Bernstein achieved by knocking on the doors of 100 potential sources at their homes in the evening.

Bob Woodward

Caro said of Woodward, “What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible. Sometimes it means taking a list of 100 names, going through that list name by name, and crossing out those names one by one until you have found and done your best to talk to everyone. That’s reporting; that’s the search for the truth. Novelists, poets, nonfiction writers—we are all trying to search for, illuminate, and provide insight into whatever truth there is. In his entire career, Bob Woodward has never stopped trying to seek out facts, as many facts as he could get.”

Bob Woodward reflected on Richard Nixon’s resignation: “Why? Why all the criminality? Why all the abuse of power? It was hate, the poison of hate, that awful, destructive force of utter contempt for other people. It was the engine of his presidency in so many ways and it, in the end, destroyed him. Now, 45 years later, President Donald Trump publicly exploits the divisions in this country without restraint. The Trump rallies are primal amphitheaters. He has turned hate, in his own way, into ammunition for personal and political warfare.” Woodward, whose most recent book, Fear: Trump in the White House, addressed the current administration’s untruths in perpetuating this hate, and their parallel to 1974, continuing, “Ben Bradlee, the editor at the [Washington] Post, used to tell us how you deal with the stress of reporting a story when it’s hard: Nose down, ass up, moving slowly forward to the truth.” Following his speech, Carl Bernstein joined Woodward onstage to share in the celebration of his former colleague and longtime friend.

The PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award annually recognizes journalists imprisoned for their work and, with the public profile of the award, globally amplifies the urgency of their cases. Of the 44 jailed writers who have received the award since 1987, 39 have been released due in part to the global attention and pressure the award generates. This year, PEN America honored journalist, blogger, and activist, activist and social media commentator Loujain Al-Hathloul, and blogger, columnist, and activist Eman Al-Nafjan, who have spoken out about women’s rights and the now-lifted ban on women driving, part of Saudi Arabia’s restrictive guardianship system. They are currently detained incommunicado, with Saudi authorities refusing to disclose information about their health conditions.

copyright: PEN American, Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul, Nouf Abdulaziz’s photograph is not publicly available, for privacy and safety reasons.

Al-Hathloul’s sister and brother Lina and Walid Al-Hathloul traveled to New York to accept the Award on the writer-activists’ behalf. Lina imagined Loujain feeling daily what Rosa Parks described when she said, “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free, so other people would be also free.” Lina told the crowd of PEN America supporters that by awarding Loujain, along with Abdulaziz and Al-Nafjan, the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, they were becoming “the voice of the voiceless…who was once the voice of the voiceless but has been sent behind bars to be silenced as well.” Walid added, “The idea of knowing she is not forgotten, and that people still stand with her, is the strongest breath of freedom she can inhale when everything else has been made to break her.”

John Oliver

John Oliver remarked, “That’s as visceral a reminder as any of what this evening is all about…PEN America’s advocacy on behalf of these courageous women and so many others around the world who are under threat, imprisoned, or even worse for exercising their expression rights is so necessary right now. Together we can make sure that they know they are not forgotten. If we stand with them against forces of authoritarianism, censorship, and silencing, together we can make a difference—as happened with the journalists just released from prison in Myanmar—which is remarkable, and it doesn’t happen without pressure.” Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo—who reported on mass atrocities by the Myanmar army against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State, and were last year’s PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award honorees—were granted amnesty on May 6, 2019, and freed from Insein prison.

This year’s Publishing Honoree, Richard Robinson, has been at the helm of Scholastic for over 40 years, overseeing the company as it has informed and inspired young readers. Alec Baldwin, a neighbor and friend of Robinson, introduced him, saying, “Dick is someone who exemplifies PEN America’s mission—a mission that resonates deeply with me personally, as we continue to fight for a free press and to acknowledge the importance of freedom of thought and creative expression. Dick understands the importance of language—how much depends on our ability to express our ideas, to access books that can change us and challenge us. Under his leadership, Scholastic has become not just the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, but also an organization that helps schools, teachers, and parents work together to make great stories accessible and relevant to millions of young people.”

Baldwin quoted a letter to Robinson, penned for the occasion by Scholastic author J.K. Rowling: “You’ve centered your life and your business around the fundamental belief that every individual child should be enabled to develop their potential to the fullest possible extent, and that a key part of that is the ability to read, and to discover other worlds through stories. I’m just one of the people who is incredibly grateful to you for having made this your mission.”

Robinson remarked that PEN America “knows that the basis of our democracy is being challenged, and that the ability of young people to develop a fact-and-reason-based approach to the world is critical to our future.” He continued, “The history of Scholastic in this area has often been controversial. We have been banned in schools in the ‘30s and ‘50s for being too soft on communism; in the ‘40s and the ‘60s for promoting liberal views on race, civil rights, and the Vietnam War; in the ‘70s for articles on student rights—not a popular subject in schools; in the 80s and 90s for climate change; and in the 2000s for the Iraq war. Despite these controversies and temporary bans, schools have relied on our balanced approach to help young gain basic knowledge about their world, with the larger goal of helping kids know how to build and maintain a fragile democracy.”

Susanne Nossel

PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel said, “Tonight’s honorees span generations, geographies, and cultures but are united by their fearless fealty to truth. Whether by buckling up to document a law-defying drive across the Saudi border, publishing an expose of the rot in the White House, or taking the witness stand against a man about to be anointed for life to the highest court in the land, their willingness to imperil their lives, sully their reputations, and sacrifice their freedoms to write and speak truth are the embodiment of what PEN America exists to safeguard.”

PEN America President Jennifer Egan said, “Thank you all for joining us tonight to champion literary expression and insist upon its cultural and civic value, both around the world and here at home.”

This feature is courtesy of PEN America and Wikipedia; photo credits: Lupita Nyong’o courtesy of Daniel Benavides under CC BY 2.0; the Times-Up logo is in the public domain; Anita Hill courtesy of Gage Skidmore under CC BY-SA 3.0Carl Bernstein courtesy of Larry D. Moore under CC BY-SA 3.0; Bob Woodward courtesy of Jay Godwin and generously released into the public domain; Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul courtesy of and copyright of PEN America; John Oliver courtesy of Steve Jennings under CC BY 2.0; and Susan Nossel courtesy of PEN America under CC BY-SA 4.0.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champion’s the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.