The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, ACLU, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

ACLU and PEN American Center Present 'Something to Hide' Event

Writers and Artists to Come Together at Miami Book Fair International for Readings Against the Surveillance State


As part of the Miami Book Fair International, the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN American Center (PEN) will present Something to Hide: Writers and Artists Against the Surveillance State,
an afternoon of readings from works that highlight how government
surveillance threatens artistic and intellectual freedom, on November
15 at 2:45 p.m. EST.

"Over the past seven years, the
president has asserted unprecedented power to spy on innocent Americans
without any real oversight," said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with
the ACLU National Security Project. "This kind of government monitoring
has a chilling effect on free speech, inhibits creative expression and
intellectual inquiry, and alters our political discourse. The next
administration under President Obama should take immediate steps to end
illegal spying and restore our fundamental rights to privacy, free
speech and association."

The afternoon will feature prominent
American writers and artists reading selections that underscore how
government practices such as warrantless surveillance of our telephone
and Internet communications and the FBI's unchecked use of National
Security Letters inhibit creative expression and intellectual inquiry,
and how government surveillance in the name of national security has
been used to monitor artists and writers in the U.S. and around the

"One of the biggest mistakes we have
made in this country since 9/11 is in thinking that we can employ tools
that have long been the tools of tyranny without damaging essential
personal freedoms," said Larry Siems, director of Freedom to Write and
International Programs at PEN American Center. "This program is meant
to sound an alarm about threats to personal, creative freedom in the
United States, and to remind us of what happens to societies that fail
to protect this precious space."

"Something to Hide: Writers and
Artists Against the Surveillance State," a special reading by writers
and artists designed to provoke reflection on unconstitutional
government surveillance programs in the U.S.

Poet Nikki Giovanni; novelist and
columnist Carl Hiaasen; Miami Book Fair International co-founder
Mitchell Kaplan; journalist and author Jonathan Mahler; National Book
Award finalist and President of PEN American Center Francine Prose;
writer Esmerelda Santiago; Pulitzer Prize-winning artist, illustrator
and author Art Spiegelman; and award-winning filmmaker Annie Sundberg,
among others, with a special performance by award-winning spoken word
artists Steve Connell and Sekou (tha misfit)

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 2:45 p.m. EST

Miami Book Fair International
Chapman Auditorium
300 NE 2nd Ave.
Building 3, Room 3210
Miami, FL 33132

More information on the ACLU's work to stop unchecked government surveillance is available online at:

Admission is free but reservations are required. Contact (212) 549-2689 or for more information.

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666