PEN American Wins Amazon Grant

by Adrian Versteegh

Daily News

Online Only, posted 9.15.09

PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the international literary and human rights group, announced yesterday that it has been awarded a twenty-five-thousand-dollar grant by Amazon. The money will support PEN’s Freedom to Write Program, which advocates on behalf of imprisoned or persecuted writers worldwide, as well as its Campaign for Core Freedoms, which opposes censorship in the United States.

According to a statement released by PEN, the Amazon grant will help the organization beef up its online presence by funding the acquisition of audio-visual production, editing, and distribution technology. A portion of the gift has also been earmarked for the six-year-old PEN Translation Fund, which provides financial support to address what the organization calls “the dismayingly low number of literary translations currently appearing in English.”

Founded in 1922, the 3,300-member PEN American Center is the largest and most influential of the 145 International PEN divisions. Aside from defending the rights of writers, editors, and translators, the New York City-based group sponsors literary and educational events, administers prizes, and hosts the annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.