We Need Each Other in 2017

Dear PEN Center USA Members and Friends, 
As the year comes to a close, PEN Center USA would like to thank you for supporting the fundamental belief that unifies PEN Centers worldwide: all people—regardless of race, gender, or creed—should be able to read and write freely. 

As the oldest human rights and literary arts organization in the world, PEN saves and enriches lives with words. In the Western United States, our PEN In The Community, Emerging Voices Fellowship, and Literary Awards programs will continue to discover, nurture, and create safe spaces for all voices to be heard.

Yesterday, in Publisher’s Weekly, we announced staffing updates that will take effect on January 1, 2017. Libby Flores, a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars and a 2008 Emerging Voices Fellow, will become Director of Literary Programs. Flores has recently published short fiction in Post Road, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Tin House Open Bar, among others. Additionally, PEN Center USA has named the following program heads: Amanda Fletcher, Emerging Voices Fellowship; Andreen Soley, Development; Rachelle Yousuf, Membership; Stacy Valis, Literary Awards; and Charles Day, Digital Media.

Our community of First Amendment activists, writers, educators, artists, journalists, entertainment industry executives, and readers needs YOU now more than ever. 

In 2016, with your support, PEN Center USA launched 23 Freedom to Write Advocacy Network campaigns, gathering thousands of signatures on behalf of imprisoned, imperiled, and persecuted writers in 16 countries.

In 2017, we pledge to offer more online and hands-on advocacy campaigns, events, and coverage. We will monitor the critical First Amendment issues facing our nation including the freedom of the press, protection for citizen journalists, and the prosecution of whistleblowers.

The impact and efficacy of our free expression work depends on our membership. Please JOIN or RENEW your PEN Center USA membership today. 

We look forward to working with you in 2017 and hope that you have a happy holiday season. 

Michelle Franke 
Executive Director

**Please note: the PEN Center USA staff will be out of the office
from December 16, 2016-January 3, 2017**