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PEN America Blog

August 29, 2014

“The girls and the women here wanted to hear about my time in freedom outside the prison walls, but I could not wait to share my stories about my freedom inside the prison walls.”

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August 27, 2014

I'll want to die first so you / can do this for me, though you'll / want to die first too. It's not / selfish to want to be said goodbye / to. Let's not argue. Let's both die / first together

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August 27, 2014

PEN remembers former PEN American Center President and distinguished novelist and historian Charles Bracelen Flood, 84, who died on August 15, 2014.

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August 21, 2014

In spite of totalitarian suppression, the Internet opened a door for freedom of speech. The regime is always met by new waves of “hacktivism” and software for activists. IT journalist Linus Larsson clarifies the cyber-situation and defines terms such as Tor, NSA, and PGP.

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August 20, 2014

No one refrains from repeating the gesture forever. / New York as seen from a plane / Writing its name in the sky. / What once appeared to be litter is revealed / As a series of glacial deposits / Artists have doctored

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August 15, 2014

In 2012, Alireza Roshan was incarcerated at Evin prison in Iran—known for housing political prisoners and dissidents—on charges of “incitement and collusion with intent to disrupt national security." He wrote five poems from his cell for the Dissident Blog.

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August 14, 2014

From a field of 120 applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board has selected fifteen projects for funding.


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August 13, 2014

All die, I’ll die / of breathing if I don’t die of holding someone / else’s breath, the downy vultures know; sunbathing // poor in Alexandrian authority offering / to do anything, give anything,

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August 12, 2014

Dear Queen, maybe this is not your business but I have had a very troubled bowel since I was a child, which is exactly what Fidel Castro has suffered from all his life. Bad intestine, knotted and throbbed and bubbled.I AM CHINA by Xiaolu Guo. Copyright (c) 2014 by Xiaolu Guo. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House.

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August 12, 2014

My lifelong hero—ever since I was a boy—is Thomas Paine, the American Revolutionary and radical-democratic pamphleteer. I would love to be identified with his words, words such as “The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth” and “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

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