Watching attacks against free speech mount in the Western Hemisphere, Suzanne Nossel will not sit idly by. “I think this is a moment when those of us who view free expression as a core value not to be compromised need to stand together,” she says.

Nossel, who took the reins as executive director of PEN America in 2013, has become one of the most visible proponents of freedom of expression in or around the American publishing industry. Under her supervision, PEN has greatly expanded its coverage of free speech issues in the U.S., publishing a landmark report on free speech on college campuses and launching the organization’s Louder Together campaign to preserve and promote free expression.

“It has been a big year, and I think we feel especially in the last few weeks like every aspect of our mission is really being tested,” Nossel says, pointing to the battle over campus speech—where prodiversity arguments can sometimes clash with arguments for free expression—as being particularly thorny. “It’s possible and essential in this moment to reconcile these imperatives that can be in tension—diversity and free speech—but that are also both very proud aspects of our society.”

Nossel added, “We’ve been really heartened by our close collaboration with our partners in the publishing industry,” referring in part to a new partnership with Penguin Random House. “They’ve really put their energies and resources behind their values in supporting PEN and individual writers around the world who are imperiled.”

Nossel came to PEN from Amnesty International, where she was executive director, and previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations at the U.S. State Department, where she was responsible for human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press, and congressional relations. She’s held major positions at Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as well as Bertelsmann Media Worldwide and the Wall Street Journal, and is a columnist for Foreign Policy.

As publishers and authors prepare to face four years of a Trump White House, Nossel pledges that she will not go along quietly. “This is a moment,” she says, “where we have to make some noise.”

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