Jennifer Egan’s Guide to Literary Activism

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Award-winning novelist, journalist, and President of PEN America Jennifer Egan shares her top picks for our toolkit feature—ways to learn more and stay connected to the conversation—three people to follow, three things to read, and three organizations to check out and support.




Delicious Foods, by James Hannaham


Say You’re One of Them, Uwem Akpan


When Rap Spoke Straight to God, Erika Dawson


  • PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. By uniting writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible, PEN America champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.
  • The Chicago City of Refuge Initiative seeks to provide a home for writers at risk of being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, or murdered for the non-violent expressions of their opinions and creativity in their native countries, regions or cultures.
  • The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organization of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity.
  • The Guild Literary Complex brings together the varied voices of Chicago and the world through innovative and integrative programming highlighting the intersections of marginality, the power of community, the impact of arts and activism, with a mission of social justice and literary arts for all.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.
Header illustration by Simone Montgomery

Writing in Exile: A Conversation with Jennifer Egan and Aleksandar Hemon

In partnership with PEN America, and as part of our Re/vision 30th Anniversary series, we’re proud to present Jennifer Egan in conversation with novelist Aleksandar Hemon on May 4 as they discuss what it takes to secure the space and freedom to write, as well as the current threats to freedom of expression.

Reprinted from the PEN America newsletter

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