Professional membership in PEN Center USA is open to professional writers, journalists, editors and translators who have a professionally published body of work. While the rewards of PEN Center USA membership start with the knowledge that you are helping to free imprisoned writers around the world and to defend the First Amendment, your writing career also directly benefits from your membership. As a member of PEN Center USA, you will receive exclusive benefits and privileges. Professional members of PEN Center USA can:
1. Vote in PEN Center USA elections and hold an office in the national organization.
2. Subscribe to electric PEN (ePEN), PEN Center USA’s bi-weekly online newsletter. ePEN provides up-to-the minute information on all PEN Center USA events, programs, readings, lectures and publishing news. All PEN Center USA members may submit announcements of their latest publication credits, workshops, readings, or other news for publication in ePEN’s “Membership” section.
3. Obtain pre-approved access to CIGNA medical insurance at group rates if you live in California, Chicago, Southern Florida, Downstate New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
4. Receive discounts on advertised workshops and events, including PEN Center USA’s largest benefit, the annual Literary Awards Festival, for which members receive a 50% discount on tickets.
5. Attend and/or participate in forums on current social, political and economic issues at the Hammer Museum, the Autry National Center and other major cultural institutions.
6. Receive advance notice of original programming and large-scale events such as the Los Angeles Festival of Books, the Silver Lake Jubilee, Lummis Day, and the Festival of California Poets.
7. Enjoy priority access to exclusive workshops and member events held at the PEN Center USA office in Beverly Hills.
8. Enjoy preferred seating at select PEN Center USA events.
9. Serve as a judge for the PEN Center USA Literary Awards. Each year, PEN Center USA seeks distinguished writers, critics and editors to serve on a panel and review entries submitted to the eleven categories of PEN Center USA’s Literary Awards. For more information, visit: http://penusa.org/awards/literary-awards.
10. Teach a PEN in the Classroom Residency. Since 1995, PEN in the Classroom has sent professional writers into classrooms to mentor and help students hone their reading and writing skills. You must be a Professional member to apply for a chance to teach a residency. For more information, visit: http://penusa.org/programs/pen-in-the-classroom.
11. Participate in PEN Center USA’s Freedom to Write network. Join our Freedom to Write Committee and help free imprisoned writers throughout the world via petitions and letter-writing campaigns. By signing up for the Rapid Action Network (RAN), you can receive regular alerts about writers who have been arrested or threatened because of their work. You also have the opportunity to add your name to online petitions to support a cause.