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PEN American Center

June 3, 14

The Tank Man Wang Weilin was not one of the student leaders; he was no intellectual; nobody had ever heard of him. He left behind this short dramatic scene, an indelible historical image seared into our memories. He was led away by the arm, and...Read More  »

May 23, 14

The word “idea” catapults us instantly into philosophy. What does it mean to have an idea? What is an idea? For Plato ideal forms were more real than our world of flux and perceptual sensation. For Plutarch an idea was by its very nature bodiless. Read More  »

May 9, 14

While indigenous people are trying to avert the disaster, in sharp contrast, the race toward the cliff is led by the most advanced, educated, wealthy, and privileged societies of the world, primarily North America. Read More  »

May 8, 14

Has anyone ever stopped grieving by devastating another’s life? What is the fantasy, the conceit, at work in such an act? Perhaps the wager is that this I, in destroying, suddenly becomes pure action, finally rid of passivity and injurability... Read More  »

April 29, 14

“Are you a Bosnian, Yugoslavian or a Muslim?” his younger comrade barked at me. What was I? Was it a trick question? I was baffled how to answer. I thought I was all three. “I’m from Yugoslavia,” I sniffled. “I’m a Bosnian. And my religion is...Read More  »

April 28, 14

As food supplies have tightened, a new geopolitics of food has emerged—a world in which the global competition for land and water is intensifying and each country is fending for itself. Read More  »

April 24, 14

It didn't occur to me that the seeming ordinariness of its ability to meet my every need, to be just the place that I wanted, one evening after another, was in fact painfully rare, so rare I've never found it anywhere since. Read More  »

April 22, 14

In departures on foot there is always something final which is lacking from other forms of transport that make it possible to turn back, where nothing is irreversible. And when you leave, you always feel this mixture of anxiety and light-...Read More  »

April 16, 14

Electoral politics were manipulated to defeat candidates the director did not like. Even mild dissent, in the eyes of the FBI, could make an American worthy of being spied on and placed in an ongoing FBI file, sometimes for decades. Read More  »

April 15, 14

I’m the bourgeois in our family. That’s chiefly because my parents were never bourgeois. When I was ten, my father walked round with his hair alternately dyed green or blue, and a leather jacket he’d painted himself. Read More  »