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Literary Awards Program
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help support the PEN America Literary Awards Program.
PEN American Center
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help support the PEN American Center and the PEN World Voices Festival.
DREAMing Out Loud: Writing Workshops for Undocumented Youth
DREAMing Out Loud is a series of tuition-free writing workshops for young undocumented and first-generation immigrant writers who came to the United States as children. The program seeks to counter anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S., to empower emerging immigrant writers to use their voices to counter misinformation, and to amplify the voices of many living in this country who are marginalized because of their immigration status. It is also a potent and beautiful example of PEN America's dual mission to celebrate literature and defend free expression.

Since the program’s founding by acclaimed Mexican novelist Álvaro Enrigue in 2016, DREAMing Out Loud has served over 125 emerging writers. Participants develop original short stories, poetry, and/or personal essays to perform at public readings. The program also aims to build a more diverse talent pipeline for the publishing and writing industries. As we emerge from an era of political and ethical uncertainty and tensions heating up along our borders, we believe more ardently than ever that the stories of these undocumented writers, who have risked their lives to cross land and oceans into the United States, must be heard. With a new era of American immigration policy on the horizon, DREAMing Out Loud looks forward to expanding its reach to new students and continuing to honor the stories of those who have lived through fear and stigmatization, especially in the last four years.

We would love your help to make DREAMing Out Loud possible in 2021. To date, the program has primarily been funded by a time-limited grant that ended in July 2020. At this point, it will not be possible for DREAMing Out Loud to take place in 2021 without further public support.

Any donations are considered 100 percent tax-deductible and support DREAMing Out Loud’s mission to defend young undocumented writers and immigrants’ free expression at a time of unprecedented need. Here are some features of the program your donation could help us fund:

$10 – a free anthology for a student writer
$50 – a paid volunteer copyeditor
$100 – lunch or dinner for students in one of our workshop sessions
$150 – a guest speaker’s honorarium
$200 – an hour of workshop facilitation
$400 – a student stipend to offset costs of living while participating in the program
$2,000 – a teaching assistant’s stipend
$3,200 – a teaching artist’s stipend

We invite you to view this summer's virtual reading online as well:

Please contact Nicole Gervasio at for any additional questions or concerns. We also thank the Vilcek Foundation, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute for their support, and Roxanna Allen for graphic design.