News

More Than 600 Writers Have Signed Open Letter to PEN America Concerning Palestine

Community

Contributor

Always books. Never boring.

Last week, an open letter addressed to PEN America was sent. It contained the signatures of over 600 writers, including Roxane Gay, Marie-Helene Bertino, Saeed Jones,Laura van den Berg, Myriam Gurba, and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

The letter calls on the nonprofit organization to respond to the threat that “Israel’s genocide of Palestinians represents for the lives of writers in Palestine and to freedom of expression everywhere.”

“We demand PEN wake up from its own silent, tepid, neither-here-nor-there, self-congratulatory middle of the road and take an actual stand against an actual genocide. The bare minimum.”

Right before the letter was sent, two novelists — National Book Award nominee Angela Flournoy and O. Henry Prize winner Kathleen Alcott — cut ties with PEN America over the organization’s decision to give a platform to Mayim Bialik, who has opposed a ceasefire. In addition to that, Palestinian American writer Randa Jarrar was physically removed from the event where Bialik spoke.

Click here to read the full letter, which you can also sign.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.