[LIVESTREAM] PEN America Town Hall Meeting: Writers on Self-Censorship

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View the livestream of this topical town hall on self-censorship featuring a panel of distinguished writers.

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We live in a new age of government censorship and societal censoriousness. Legislatures and school boards are banning books and curricula from schools. Bookstores and libraries are under pressure to exclude certain narratives and perspectives. Social media posts, videos, and writings can become the basis of weaponized opprobrium. Certain subjects and ideas are nearly impossible to discuss without triggering outrage and risking reputational and professional repercussions.

Tune into the livestream of PEN America’s town hall, “Writers on Self-Censorship” on Wednesday, December 8 at 7pm ET, for a deep dive into self-censorship from the perspective of the writer. Hear from a panel of exceptional writers to explore questions including where the boundaries lie between conscientiousness, discretion, self-restraint, and self-censorship and whether those redlines have shifted; what ideas, perspectives, subjects, and discussions are being lost to self-censorship; whether and when self-censorship seeps from constraints on speech to constraints on thought; and how to counter self-censorship and create more space for discussion on uncomfortable subjects.

The discussion will commence with remarks from Ayad Akhtar, PEN America’s president and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of the recent autofiction Homeland Elegies. Afterward, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel will moderate the panel that includes: author and playwright Wajahat Ali, transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, award-winning memoirist and short story writer Carmen Maria Machado, and author and linguist John McWhorter.

This event is a part of the Annual General Meeting of PEN America Members. Those with a strong interest in becoming a Member are encouraged to attend.

The livestream will feature live-captioning. If you require additional accommodations for our in-person event, please contact us at least 48 hours in advance at membership@pen.org, and we will make an effort to provide greater accessibility.

If you would like to attend the event in-person, please RSVP here.

The in-person event will adhere to protocols developed in accordance with New York State regulations and in consultation with medical professionals for the safety of our panelists, audience, and staff. All attendees must provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times.

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