Series: The PEN Po‪d‬

As an organization that’s all about the literary community, PEN America knows that the current health crisis is hitting our Members and friends particularly hard. The PEN Pod is meant to provide regular updates and conversations about literature and free expression, and provide an outlet for our in-person events that have been postponed or canceled.

Join the conversation online at and on our social channels @PENAmerica. Thanks for tuning in. Support this podcast:

Tough Questions About 2021; Plus, That’s a Wrap

On this very final episode of The PEN Pod, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel talks about free speech in 2021, from the Capitol Hill insurrection to calls to ban books and entire topics from America’s classrooms. Then we reflect on The PEN Pod and PEN America’s impact. — Send in a voice message: Support…

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Artistic Freedom in Myanmar; Plus, Tough Questions on Disinformation, Trump Texts, and Free Speech Battles Ahead

On this edition of The PEN Pod, we speak to two experts on the situation for free expression in Myanmar nearly one year since the coup. Then, Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, joins for our latest installment of TOUGH QUESTIONS. This week, we discuss disinformation consumers, texts to Trump amid the insurrection, and what…

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The Perils of Self-Censorship; Plus, Tough Questions on Fighting Book Bans and What Democracy Really Means

On this week’s episode of The PEN Pod, we bring you a conversation about self-censorship among PEN America’s own Ayad Akhtar, Suzanne Nossel, and Jennifer Finney Boylan, alongside Wajahat Ali, John McWhorter, and Carmen Maria Machado. Then, Suzanne wades through the tough questions of free speech from the past week, including what it means to…

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Tough Questions: Peng Shuai, ‘Simpsons’ and Censorship, and Critical Race Theory Taboos

On this edition of The PEN Pod, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel answers tough questions about a silenced Chinese tennis star; how Disney self-censored in the face of cross-border censorship; and how the utterance of two words — critical and race — can draw a crackdown on free speech. — Send in a voice message:…

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The Perishing with Natashia Deón; Plus, Tough Questions on Biden and China, Myanmar, and a Free Speech University

On this episode of The PEN Pod, author, attorney, and activist Natashia Deón on her new book THE PERISHING, as well as themes of redemption and immortality in her work and writing. Then, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel fields tough questions about President Biden’s approach to China’s government; the freedom of a U.S. journalist detained…

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Book Banning and Educational Gag Orders; Plus, Anthony Doerr and Cloud Cuckoo Land

On today’s episode of The PEN Pod, award-winning author Anthony Doerr talks to PEN America’s Jane Marchant about his latest work CLOUD CUCKOO LAND. George M. Johnson reflects on efforts to ban his book ALL BOYS AREN’T BLUE, as well as the broader effort to impose educational gag orders in classrooms. Then, PEN America CEO…

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Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed with Saraciea J. Fennell; Plus, Tough Questions on Facial Recognition, NSO Group, and Local News

On this edition of The PEN Pod, PEN America’s Jared Jackson interviews The Bronx Is Reading founder Saraciea J. Fennell on her debut anthology Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora. Then, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel tackles tough questions about facial recognition, tech surveillance, and local news. — Send in…

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Dreaming of You with Melissa Lozada-Oliva

On this week’s episode of The PEN Pod, our own Jared Jackson speaks to poet and podcaster Melissa Lozada-Oliva about her work in verse, Dreaming of You. — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

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When High School Students Defeat a Book Ban

On this special edition of The PEN Pod, we hear the voices of three students and a teacher who helped overturn a pernicious book ban in their home town of York, Pennsylvania. — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

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Subway Book Review with Uli Beutter Cohen; Plus, Tough Questions on Dave Chapelle, Protecting Journalists, and Facebook Revelations

On this episode of The PEN Pod Jared Jackson, PEN America’s manager of literary programs, speaks with Uli Beutter Cohen, creator of Subway Book Review, about her book Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, which collects over 170 interviews from the acclaimed social media movement that highlights books and the people who cherish them….

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