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Authors Challenge PEN World Voices Festival

by | Mar 18, 2024 | News

Naomi Klein, Michelle Alexander, and Hisham Matar, among numerous other writers, have opted to boycott this year’s PEN World Voices Festival, organized by PEN America. Their decision stems from what they perceive as a deficient response to the Gaza genocide.

 

The festival, an annual literary extravaganza held in New York City and Los Angeles, is meant to showcase international literature and emerging writers, all under the umbrella of PEN America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting literature and free expression globally.

The writers express dismay over what they view as PEN America’s failure to adequately support Palestinian writers and journalists, especially in the aftermath of Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza, which has claimed a significant number of lives.

Despite PEN America’s expressed concerns about the conflict, the writers criticize its apparent lack of concrete action or reports addressing the attacks on writers in Gaza and the broader suppression of Palestinian speech and culture. They point out the stark disparity between PEN America’s response to the Gaza crisis and its actions in other global conflicts or instances of journalist endangerment, such as the Ukraine war or journalist killings in Latin America.

 

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