Prize-winning author Andrew Solomon is the new president of the Pen American Center.

The literary and human rights organization announced Thursday that Solomon had been elected to a two-year term. He succeeds author-journalist Peter Godwin.

The 51-year-old Solomon is best known for "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression," winner of the National Book Award in 2001, and "Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity," which received the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2013.

In a statement issued through PEN, Solomon cited government surveillance, the Charlie Hebdo shootings and press censorships as examples of free speech "under siege."

"Its defenders cannot rest," he said.