PEN America | Literary Activism Summit | February 25, 2023 | NYC

Literary Activism Summit

For generations, writers and readers have made New York City one of the literary capitals in the country. Literary artists and activists have honed their craft and shared their voices in NYC’s cafes, parks, bookshops, sidewalks, libraries, bars and galleries. The Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, the Nuyorican Movement, and the landscape of the West Village, Loisaida, Harlem and El Barrio pay homage to the pivotal role that the literary arts have played throughout New York City’s history to make our city more equitable and inclusive to all.

In partnership with PEN America, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), and the Schomburg Center Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Literary Activism Summit will highlight the past, present, and future of Literary Activism in New York City. The event will be made up of two panel conversations, followed by keynote conversation featuring writer and activist Iris Morales, in conversation with PEN America's community outreach manager Alejandro Heredia.

There will be poets present from Ars Poetica’s network, who will write free personalized poems for attendees. The event is free and open to the public. Live captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided. Free lunch will be provided as well.

The first 100 people to sign in at the event will receive gift bags with free books and other materials. All attendees must RSVP to receive a gift bag.

Doors will open at 11:30am. For any questions, please email Saeri Plagmann at [email protected].

Panel One: The Right to Read in NYC

How can New Yorkers join the fight against banned books across the country? What barriers exist here in our own city that obstruct the right to read for New Yorkers? What literary activist practices can we take, individually and collectively, to protect the right to read? Moderated by Kasey Meehan (PEN America), this panel will feature speakers Monica Carter (LAMBDA Literary), Saraciea J. Fennell (The Bronx Is Reading), and Amy Mikel (Brooklyn Public Library).

Panel Two: Writing the Future of NYC

How can writers help to imagine and shape the future of New York City? How can writing be used to support the structural change needed to make New York a more inclusive and equitable home for its most marginalized communities? In this panel conversation, participants will speak to how they’ve used writing to challenge and expand the social climate of New York City. Moderated by Harlem poet and educator Brittany Barker, the panel will feature speakers Andres “Jay” Molina, Raquel Willis, and Lucy Yu.




February 25, 2023 at 12:00pm - 4pm


Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10037
United States
Google map and directions


Saeri Plagmann ·