PEN American Center
A favorite of Red Room authors Salman Rushdie, Aimee Liu, David Corbett, Michele Zackheim, C. M. Mayo, Jillian Medoff, Brenda Webster, Bob Levin, Brad Schreiber, Scott C. Holstad, Diana R. Chambers, Roz Spafford, Jayne Lyn Stahl, Judith Copek, Maxine Hong Kingston, J.P. Smith, and Jeff Biggers.
President: Kwame Anthony Appiah
Year founded: 1922
Mission: PEN American Centeris an association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.
- Gathered together more than 3,300 distinguished writers, editors, and translators as members
- Established fourteen main programs to fulfill its mission
Profile: PEN American Center is the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. In addition to defending writers in prison or in danger of imprisonment for their work, PEN American Center sponsors public literary programs and forums on current issues, sends prominent authors to inner-city schools to encourage reading and writing, administers literary prizes, promotes international literature that might otherwise go unread in the United States, and offers grants and loans to writers facing financial or medical emergencies. In carrying out this work, PEN American Center builds upon the achievements of such dedicated past members as W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck.
Two Red Room authors have written articles exclusively for Red Room about their work helping dissident authors through PEN. Brenda Webster writes about Turkey's Ayse Nur Zarakolu here, and Michele Zackheim reports on Kosovo's Flora Brovina here.
To become more involved or to make a donation, please visit the organization's Support page.
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room
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