“This memoir covers a crucial time in the history of freedom of expression... filled with daring adventures, philosophical debates and meetings with some of the bravest writers and journalists who have risked so much to tell the truth.”

—Jennifer Clement, President, PEN International 2015-2021

About Joanne

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist. Her fiction includes regional bestseller The Dark Path to the River and No Marble Angels. A former reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, Joanne has won awards for her nonfiction and published fiction, articles and essays in newspapers, magazines, and books.

Praise for Joanne's Fiction

"Well-written, thematically rich. I fell in love with the characters. I didn’t want the pleasure to end."

—Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible

"...the writer’s strengths—honesty, compassion and the ability to present such memorable scenes."

—Jill McCorkle, The New York Times Book Review

Praise for Joanne's Non-fiction

"PEN Journeys tells the story of the important organization PEN from the ground and through insightful eyes…and with narrative flair."

—Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran

"This invaluable book shows the range and depth of Liu Xiaobo's interests, concerns, and thoughts. It helps us know this remarkable man intimately."

—Ha Jin, author of Waiting, winner of the National Book Award

Latest Blog Post

The Power of One: Dissent in Russia

April 22, 2022

With the war in the Ukraine front and center in the news, I can’t help thinking back to my Russian colleague from PEN, the General Secretary of Russian PEN Alexander Tkachenko, or Sascha as we called him. I wonder how he would have responded to what is unfolding. During his tenure at Russian PEN, he stood up and argued with Vladimir Putin face to face on behalf of Russian writers and resisted when the government tried to close down PEN in Russia. Sascha was complex—a former professional soccer player, a Tartar, son of the Crimea, a poet. Those who knew him may still hear his voice on the floor of PEN Congresses challenging his government’s imprisonment of writers, apologizing to new Afghan PEN delegates for his country’s incursion into their country, or remember Sascha swimming off the coast of Perth,…