Wednesday, November 11, 7pm CDT
Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page
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About Dare to Speak
A vital, necessary playbook for navigating and defending free speech today by the CEO of PEN America, Dare To Speak provides a pathway for promoting free expression while also cultivating a more inclusive public culture.
Online trolls and fascist chat groups. Controversies over campus lectures. Cancel culture versus censorship. The daily hazards and debates surrounding free speech dominate headlines and fuel social media storms. In an era where one tweet can launch—or end—your career, and where free speech is often invoked as a principle but rarely understood, learning to maneuver the fast-changing, treacherous landscape of public discourse has never been more urgent.
In Dare To Speak, Suzanne Nossel, a leading voice in support of free expression, delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country. Centered on practical principles, Nossel’s primer equips readers with the tools needed to speak one’s mind in today’s diverse, digitized, and highly-divided society without resorting to curbs on free expression.
At a time when free speech is often pitted against other progressive axioms—namely diversity and equality—Dare To Speak presents a clear-eyed argument that the drive to create a more inclusive society need not, and must not, compromise robust protections for free speech. Nossel provides concrete guidance on how to reconcile these two sets of core values within universities, on social media, and in daily life. She advises readers how to:
- Use language conscientiously without self-censoring ideas;
- Defend the right to express unpopular views;
- And protest without silencing speech.
Nossel warns against the increasingly fashionable embrace of expanded government and corporate controls over speech, warning that such strictures can reinforce the marginalization of lesser-heard voices. She argues that creating an open market of ideas demands aggressive steps to remedy exclusion and ensure equal participation.
Replete with insightful arguments, colorful examples, and salient advice, Dare To Speak brings much-needed clarity and guidance to this pressing—and often misunderstood—debate.
"A must read."—Margaret Atwood
“In our censorious age of easy outrage, when it’s harder than ever to defend our right to express contentious ideas, Suzanne Nossel remains convinced that bigotry and intolerance can be fought without giving way on the principle of free speech, and makes her case eloquently, and—even better—usefully. An authoritative, essential book.” — Salman Rushdie, bestselling author of The Golden House and The Satanic Verses
About the Speakers
Suzanne Nossel is the CEO of PEN America, the foremost organization working to protect and advance human rights, free expression and literature. She has also served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA; and held senior State Department positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Nossel frequently writes op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications, as well as a regular column for Foreign Policy magazine. She lives in New York City.
Mark Sableman practices media and First Amendment law as a partner at Thompson Coburn. A longtime St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts volunteer, he took the lead in the organization’s efforts to support the free speech rights of David Pulphus, the young St. Louis artist whose painting was removed from the US Capitol. He served on VLAA’s board and is a former board president. He has also taught Censorship and Free Expression at Washington University School of Law.
Pacia Elaine Anderson is a written, spoken, visual and teaching Word Artist. In 2020, Pacia became the St. Louis Visionary Awards’ first Community Impact Artist honoree. She collaborates as a teaching artist, creative consultant and community development and engagement strategist with numerous organizations and institutions, both locally and nationally. Pacia is a St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts board member.
About St. Louis VLAA
St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) supports the bi-state creative community by providing free legal and accounting assistance and a wide variety of affordable educational programs. VLAA serves artists of every discipline and career level, nonprofit cultural organizations and small arts-related businesses. The nonprofit, tax-exempt organization proudly offers rewarding volunteer opportunities for more than 300 accountants and lawyers. www.vlaa.org
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