Founded in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen, and Michael Roberts with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the U.S. and the world, PEN World Voices is the only international literary festival in America, and the only one in the world with a human rights focus. 

The thirteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival will take on some of the vital issues of the Trump-era, with a special focus on today’s restive relationship between gender and power. Taking place in New York City, May 1-7, 2017, the weeklong festival will use the lens of literature and the arts to confront new challenges to free expression and human rights—issues that have been core to PEN America’s mission since its founding. At this historic moment of both unprecedented attacks on core freedoms and the emergence of new forms of resistance, the Festival will offer a platform for a global community of writers, artists and thinkers to connect with concerned citizens and the broader public to fight back against bigotry, hatred and isolationism.

Curatorial Team

Rob Spillman, Chair

Susan Bernofsky
Jemma Birrell
Jennifer Finney Boylan
Kim Chan
Ram Devineni
Mona Eltahawy
Marlon James
Saeed Jones
Meg Lemke
Valeria Luiselli
Paul Morris
Chinelo Okparanta
Steph Opitz
Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf
Andy Tepper

PEN Board of Trustees – As of March 2017

Andrew Solomon, President. Ayad Akhtar, Annette Tapert Allen, Gabriella De Ferrari, Markus Dohle, Roxanne Donovan, Jennifer Egan, Lauren Embrey, Nathan Englander, Jeanmarie Fenrich, Leon Friedman, Masha Gessen, Wendy Gimbel, Tom Healy, Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, Tracy Higgins, Saeed Jones, Zachary Karabell, Sean Kelly, Jeri Laber, Yvonne Marsh, Erroll McDonald, Dinaw Mengestu, Sevil Miyhandar, Paul Muldoon, Alexandra Munroe, Christian Oberbeck, Michael Pietsch, Theresa Rebeck, Laura Sillerman, Jacob Weisberg, Hanya Yanagihara

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director 

PEN World Voices Festival Team

Kim Chan, General Manager. Rob Spillman, Chair, 2017 Curatorial Committee. Julia Johanne Tolo, Associate. Ryan Chapman, Social Media and Marketing. Lily Philpott, Lit Crawl and Marketing. Isabelle Deconnick and Jenny Lerner, Marketing and editorial consultants. Graphic Design by Greybox Creative.

Interns Samantha Flax, Jose Garcia, Kari Hively, Miriam Kumaradoss, Frances Maples, Camilla Marshall, Katherine Rothschild.