An Interview with Larry Siems, Director of the PEN American Center Freedom to Write Project: Part Two
Our front line defense for writers in other countries is that countries need to abide by basic due process standards that are outlined under international law. It obviously undermines that to have Guantánamo. The story in America was that this was somehow a new experience that nobody had ever had. On the contrary, for PEN, now the United States was dealing with something that a lot of other countries had dealt with for some time.
Larry Siems is the Director of the PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Project. He has worked to support writers facing persecution in Nigeria, China, Turkey, and the U.S. Siems is also an accomplished poet and author in his own right who received numerous accolades for his book Between the Lines: Letters between Undocumented Mexican and Latin American Immigrants and Their Families and Friends (Harper Collins). He offers the rare, inspiring combination of fervent advocacy and a passion for the creative arts.
Larry spoke to FictionthatMatters about his work. I decided to divide his interview into two parts because he speaks in depth about a variety of complex subjects. The first part was roughly dedicated to literature and letters. (Click on the link to read it.) This second half will focus on his work as an activist.