In this era of misinformation and threats to free expression, the ability to speak openly and truthfully is more essential than ever. Concerned for what we view as a recent erosion of respect for First Amendment rights, we’ve commissioned a new series of short essays that will serve as a platform for authors to share their own stories. We asked authors to respond to the prompt, “What does the First Amendment mean to you?” (The views expressed are solely those of the author and are not intended to reflect the Guild’s position on any issue.)

First Amendment: The Real Deal»

by Roy Blount Jr.

"In real life, where does free speech fit in?"

The Cornerstone of Democracy»

by Ellen Hopkins

"Without the ability to speak our minds sans threat of intimidation, we are truly marching in lockstep toward tyranny"


by Mitchell S. Jackson

“This truth I hold as self-evident: there is no such thing as freedom of speech. Each word we utter has a price…”

A Doctrine of Absolute Protection»

by Scott Turow

"I am also concerned about what happens to the First Amendment when it begins to be expanded this way to protect corporate speech or commercial expression."

Governed by Ghosts»

by Catherine Lacey

"One gets the sense we may be governed by ghosts, or worse, that we are governed by human beings who believe they alone know what the ghosts really meant 225 years ago."

Dissent Shall Set You Free»

by T.J. Stiles

"I am free because the poorest, the most oppressed, the most discontented in American society resisted."