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.

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The Promise of a Robust Public Defense; Plus, Dallas’ Literary Community

This week on The PEN Pod, we catch up with attorney and author Jonathan Rapping, author of GIDEON’S PROMISE and leader of an organization charged with harnessing the voices of public defenders to make change. Then, co-leader of PEN America Dallas/Fort Worth Will Evans comes on to talk about the slow re-emergence of in-person literary…

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Renewing New Orleans Through Literature with Maurice Carlos Ruffin; Plus, the War on Terror with Spencer Ackerman

On this week’s extended edition of The PEN Pod, we get the latest on Hurricane Ida and its impact on the New Orleans literary community from author Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Then, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Spencer Ackerman discusses his new book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, and get his…

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Leaving Behind a Deadly Digital Trail in Afghanistan

On this edition of The PEN Pod, we have an in-depth interview with PEN America’s own Matt Bailey, who walks us through the perils facing Afghans who’ve been sharing details of their lives on social media. Many now face serious threats having spent years posting photos and other details of their lives online. Bailey explores…

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Navigating the Debacle in Afghanistan: George Packer and Ayad Akhtar, Plus the Future for Afghan Women

On this special edition of The PEN Pod, we focus on the fall of the US-backed government in Afghanistan. First, we have a conversation between PEN America president Ayad Akhtar and journalist and author George Packer. They discuss the fate of Afghanistan’s writers and translators, reflect on the decline of American power globally, and discuss…

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Attacking Racism Through National Solidarity; Plus, Tough Questions on Belarus, Misinformation, and a Texas Book Ban

Former Navy commander and scholar Theodore Johnson’s new book When the Stars Begin to Fall lays out the case for how a new form of national solidarity modeled on Black solidarity could help us inch ever-closer to racial justice. Then, PEN America’s own Suzanne Nossel takes on the toughest questions this week in free speech,…

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Queering an Epic Tale; Plus, Tough Questions on the Olympics, Facebook Shutting Down Research, and Protest Laws

On this week’s episode, we bring you a second conversation with one of the contributors to DREAMing Out Loud, our annual anthology of writings from migrant writers who took part in our writing workshop series. Then, Suzanne Nossel joins to wade through the tough questions around the Olympics and protesting on the podium, new laws…

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DREAMing Out Loud; Plus, Tough Questions on the Insurrection Hearings, COVID Vaccines, and Russia’s Vendetta Against the Press

This week’s PEN Pod focuses on DREAMing Out Loud, the anthology of written works from young migrant writers here in New York City. We talk to one of this year’s stellar contributors. Then, we turn to Suzanne Nossel to answer all your tough questions about free speech this week, including the insurrection hearings, Republicans flip…

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Belarus Opposition Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; the Pegasus Spyware Scandal; Tough Question on the Olympics and Vaccine Disinformation

On this episode of The PEN Pod, we’re joined by Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya just as authorities in that country have given notice that they intend to dissolve our sister organization PEN Belarus. PEN America’s own Matt Bailey dissects the Pegasus spyware revelations. And then our Summer Lopez covers the threats spyware poses to…

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Bring Danny Home; Plus, Iran Attempts to Arrest an American Writer

On this edition of The PEN Pod, we talk to writer and cartoonist Amy Kurzweil, who is leading a campaign to free her cousin Danny Fenster, a journalist detained in Myanmar earlier this spring. She discusses his urgent plight and what others can do to demand his freedom. Then, Summer Lopez of PEN America explores…

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Fighting Back Against Hate with Brad Hoylman; Plus Tough Questions about Censorship, Academic Freedom, and Hate Speech

On this week’s edition of The PEN Pod, New York state Senator Brad Hoylman joins us to discuss his bill that would help track hate crimes in New York. Then, Suzanne Nossel discusses how policymakers are waking up to the censorship threat emanating from the Chinese government; how a tenure decision for Nikole Hannah-Jones is…

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