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Spotlight Speaker: Banned in the USA with Suzanne Nossel and Richard Dresser

Wednesday, October 4, 2023, 7:00 pm EDT
Virtual Event Virtual Event

2023 Banned Books Week is upon us, and we were thrilled to host Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, and Richard Dresser, President of the Writers Guild Initiative. They examined the current movement to ban books in public schools and libraries across the country, underscoring the impacts of increased censorship on students and schools, as well as authors and artists. Unlike book bans in our past, the recent rash of book banning in schools and public libraries is a well-funded, coordinated effort by an extreme minority on the far right. The repercussion in classrooms and lecture halls, on students, teachers, librarians, authors, artists, and publishers are extremely damaging and far-reaching.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Over the last 100 years, PEN American has advocated for free expression by defending writers and fighting censorship around the world. As part of these efforts, we champion the freedom to write, research and report on challenges to the freedom of expression, host educational and advocacy events, draft op-eds, and provide support for writers and artists at risk.  Now, our cause has been made all the more urgent by the current wave of book bans and censorship in schools. To learn more, visit pen.org

Operating under the umbrella of the Writers Guild of America, East, the Initiative’s mission is to give a voice to populations not being heard, through writing workshops all over the country, including veterans, caregivers, wounded soldiers, exonerated death row prisoners, DACA recipients, LGBTQ asylum seekers, inmates at the Pendleton Prison in Indiana, victims of Hurricane Sandy, people living with HIV/AIDS, people living with chronic illness, and, more recently, nurses, paramedics and other first line responders in New York. To learn more, visit Writers Guild Initiative.

About Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization, and is the author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. She also serves on the Meta Oversight Board. Her prior career spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. During the first term of the Obama Administration, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations. Nossel coined the term “Smart Power,” which was the title of a 2004 article she published in Foreign Affairs Magazine and later became the theme of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure in office. Nossel is a featured columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and has published op-eds in The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and dozens of other outlets, as well as scholarly articles in Foreign Affairs, Dissent, democracy and other journals.  

About Richard Dresser

Over the past twenty year Richard Dresser’s plays have been widely produced on and off Broadway, in the nation’s leading regional theaters, and extensively throughout Europe. He has worked in television for many years on a number of series including HBO’s “Vietnam War Stories” for which he won a cable ACE award, “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” starring Blair Brown, “The Job” starring Denis Leary, “The Education of Max Bickford” starring Richard Dreyfuss, “Madigan Men” starring Gabriel Byrne, and such cult favorites as “Bakersfield P.D.,” and “Keen Eddie.” He created the web series “Life Coach” starring Cheri Oteri for AMC.  He has sold pilots to all the major networks.

Date & Time:
Wednesday, October 4, 2023, 7:00 pm EDT

Big Tent Zoom Room

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