March 5, 2018
Jennifer Egan has been named the president of PEN America
by Stephanie DeLuca
As we wrote earlier this year, this month sees the unification of the two discrete branches that have long represented PEN International in America, as PEN America absorbs its smaller, west-coast cousin, the PEN Center USA.
As that unification was taking place last week, the organization announced that their new president will be none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan. Egan, who is the author most recently of 2017’s Manhattan Beach and who won the Pulitzer for A Visit from the Goon Squad, succeeds writer Andrew Solomon, who led the organization for the last three years.
PEN America’s role is one of advocacy, action, and defense of writers’ freedom; according their mission statement, “PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.”
The release says that Egan will be “taking leadership of the organization of writers as it mobilizes against mounting dangers for free expression in the United States and worldwide.”
For her part, Egan, who has been a trustee of the organization since 2013, says, “The power and meaning of the written word are central to the complexities we face today — both as a nation, and globally. To my mind, freedom of expression is a basic human right.”
Right now, with a president who wants to censor the press because doesn’t like the way they report on him (that is, truthfully), PEN America matters more than ever.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.