PEN out Loud, Strand Book Store and PEN America’s new event series, empowers and encourages writers and readers in their pursuit of creative expression.
Join us for an exciting 2020 season.
PEN Out Loud: Saidiya Hartman with Leslie Jamison
Wednesday January 29: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
2019 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Saidiya Hartman celebrates the paperback release of her radical historical narrative, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, a genre-defying exploration of twentieth century young Black women. Hartman will be joined in conversation with bestselling author Leslie Jamison (Make It Scream, Make It Burn) to read from her work, and to discuss her creative process, the book’s critique of portrayals of Black women and girls, and what it means to live freely.
PEN Out Loud: Mitchell S. Jackson with Imani Perry
Wednesday February 12: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
2018 PEN Writing for Justice Fellow and bestselling author Mitchell S. Jackson commemorates the paperback release of his wholly original hybrid nonfiction debut, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family. This critically acclaimed memoir underscores Jackson’s intimate and compelling prose, and is accompanied by historical documents, photographs, and short narratives, as he explores sex and masculinity, race and class, and family and community. Following a reading, he will be joined in conversation with distinguished scholar and winner of the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography award Imani Perry (Breathe: Letters to My Sons) to discuss his inspiration, the possibilities of the memoir as a genre, and how to survive in contemporary America.”
Award-winning author and literary translator Ken Liu launches his new story collection, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. The book highlights the mind of one of speculative fiction’s sharpest writers as he examines subjects ranging from cryptocurrency to Internet trolling, asking readers to engage with the present and project the future. He will read a selection from the book and will discuss creating narratives of economics, the future of work, and technology in fictional works with The New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz (Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation).
PEN Out Loud: Bernardine Evaristo with Safiya Sinclair
Thursday March 19: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
2019 Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo discusses her award-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other, which spans decades and is comprised of interconnected stories of a group of Black British women of different generations, faiths, classes, politics, and heritages. She will be joined in conversation with 2017 PEN Center USA Literary Award finalist and 2017 PEN Open Book Award longlisted award-winning poet Safiya Sinclair (Cannibal) to discuss the novel, and questions about feminism and race.
PEN Out Loud: Emily St. John Mandel with Samantha Hunt
Wednesday March 25: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Award-winning author Emily St. John Mandel celebrates the release of her newest novel, The Glass Hotel. Following her bestselling PEN/Faulkner finalist novel Station Eleven, Mandel’s latest is an engrossing story that explores tenuous relationships, inadvertent consequences, and white-collar crime. Mandel will read from the novel and have a conversation with bestselling author Samantha Hunt (The Dark, Dark: Stories) about the book’s inception, craft, and the subversive nature of ghosts.
Lindy West, the groundbreaking author of Shrill, is joined by comedian Hari Kondabolu (Netflix’s Warn Your Relatives) to discuss her highly anticipated new essay collection. The Witches Are Coming investigates what it means to be a woman in the #MeToo era and how we arrived at this moment of cultural reckoning.
Produced in Cooperation with PEN America and the Strand Book Store.
Part of the PEN Out Loud series.
[PEN Out Loud is a year-round conversation series presented by PEN America and the Strand Book Store that amplifies diverse voices and convenes vital conversations with authors, poets, journalists, artists, and activists.]
Special bonus: All tickets come with a copy of The Witches Are Coming
PEN Out Loud: Staceyann Chin and Nicole Dennis-Benn
Monday October 14: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Poet and performer Staceyann Chin joins PEN Out Loud to celebrate her unflinching, activist-driven poetry, collected for the first time in Crossfire: A Litany for Survival. This event will feature a performance of her work, and a conversation with author Nicole Dennis-Benn on craft and the intersections between poetry and advocacy.
PEN Out Loud: Rion Amilcar Scott and Vinson Cunningham
Tuesday September 10: 7:00PM - 8:30PM
PEN Literary Awards winner Rion Amilcar Scott returns to New York City to launch his sophomore short story collection The World Doesn’t Require You. This highly anticipated collection highlights Scott’s blazing prose as he takes on race, history, and genre, further establishing him as an essential voice in the contemporary literary canon. Scott will read from the book and discuss his creative process and inspirations with cultural critic Vinson Cunningham, New Yorker staff writer and Director of Programming for Jack Jones Literary Arts’ inaugural Culture, Too conference.
Presented in collaboration with the Creative Writing Program at The New School.
Salman Rushdie joins us this fall to celebrate the release of his newest novel, Quichotte. Quichotte is a dazzling, modern take on Don Quixote by a literary master, at once an homage, and a unique work of art. Rushdie will be joined in conversation by Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James (Black Leopard, Red Wolf), to read from his work, and discuss his literary interpretation of a classic, and the accompanying satirical commentary on our modern age of alternative facts.
PEN Out Loud: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Maaza Mengiste
Friday April 26: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) and author Maaza Mengiste (Beneath the Lion’s Gaze) discuss the critically acclaimed anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. Edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen and featuring an essay by Maaza Mengiste, The Displaced collects the work of 17 refugee writers, painting intimate narratives of their everyday lives and reckoning with the largest refugee crisis in history, and the increasingly hostile conditions refugees face.
We celebrate the 25th anniversary of Julia Alvarez’s In The Time of the Butterflies, a haunting fictional account of three sisters involved with a resistance movement against an oppressive government that fatally silenced them, and a story that continues to resonate today. Alvarez will be joined in conversation by National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X). Together, Alvarez and Acevedo stand as leading Latinx voices in the American literary canon, and will join us for an intergenerational conversation on craft, legacy, and literature.
PEN Out Loud: Layli Long Soldier and Claudia Rankine
Friday March 1: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Layli Long Soldier - winner of the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award for her vital debut poetry collection WHEREAS - will be in conversation with award-winning poet Claudia Rankine, 2018 PEN/Jean Stein judge and author of Citizen: An American Lyric and forthcoming published play, The White Card. These two formidable poets will read from their work and then share more about their literary lineage, writing double consciousness, and their use of language to illuminate and excavate the past.
Presented in collaboration with the Creative Writing Program at The New School.
PEN Out Loud: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and Isaac Fitzgerald
Thursday February 21: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Join Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – whose bestselling short-story collection, Friday Black, Roxane Gay calls “captivating and essential” – to discuss writing in the hinterlands of satire, where absurdity reflects and challenges reality. A celebrated debut author, Adjei-Brenyah breaks new ground with Friday Black, creating an electrifying vision of the future of fiction, and will be joined in conversation by Isaac Fitzgerald, author and co-host of BuzzFeed News’ Twitter Morning Show, #AMtoDM.
This December, join PEN America and the Strand Book Store as we embark on a retrospective of 2018 through the eyes of some of our most talented authors. Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana blends the traditional coming of age novel with the story of an Indian immigrant coming to America, in a book that was referred to as “bio-fiction.” Wayetú Moore’s She Would Be King weaves together the historical facts of the founding of Liberia with magical realism, bringing together characters from all corners of the African diaspora. Together, these authors will speak about their work, this year’s news cycles, and what it means to work as a writer in an era of “fake news” and “alternative facts.”
This November, following the midterm elections, PEN America and the Strand Book Store present graphic novelists in conversation to discuss the ways they use art, cartoons, and statistics to contribute to national conversations about race, identity, and totalitarianism. With New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein, author of graphic novel The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalkers’ Guide to Dancing and the forthcoming graphic memoir Good Talk, and others to be announced.
This October, join PEN America and the Strand Book Store present an unmissable panel of young adult authors who are inspiring our next generation of literary activists. Moderated by Ibi Zoboi, with Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and COO of We Need Diverse Books, Joseph Bruchac, one of the most widely published Native American authors writing for children and young adults today, Emily Pan, New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After, and Kheryn Callender, nonbinary activist and author of This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and others. Together these writers will discuss how young adult authors are working to promote a diversity of voices, causes, and stories, inspiring teen and adult readers to become more socially engaged through the work they read and the authors they follow.
This September, join PEN America in partnership with the Strand Book Store as we present Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas for the launch of his riveting and deeply personal new book, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Blurring the line between memoir and criticism, Dear America offers both an analysis of the condition of immigration and the quest for citizenship, and debunks what it means to be undocumented. In conversation, Vargas will challenge notions of home and national identity and discuss the importance of expression in the face of a state that demands assimilation.
PEN Out Loud feat. Jason Reynolds + Greg Pardlo @ SubCulture
Monday February 26: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
This February, join bestselling and multi-award winning author Jason Reynolds and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Greg Pardlo in conversation for the launch of the 2018 season of PEN Out Loud, presented in collaboration with PEN America and the Strand Book Store. In a candid author-to-author conversation, they will discuss the vital importance of a literary canon that is representative, contemporary, and hopeful, as they speak about craft, interrogate and celebrate each other's work, and provide insight into their respective relationship with poetry and prose as a means of expression.
Join PEN Out Loud in the Rare Book Room as we present a panel of authors celebrate the classic story A Wrinkle in Time! The panel will feature: Ibi Zoboi, Alice Sola Kim, and Lena Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis.
We are living through one of the most divisive periods in American history, with hate-filled rhetoric fueling disagreements on a wide range of issues - from LGBTQ rights to immigration policy and more. How do we begin to repair the world around us and move towards collective, positive change? CNN commentator Sally Kohn, who investigates the roots and lasting effect of political, cultural, and personal hatred in a new book, will be joined by WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll, in a frank and inspiring conversation on the opposite of hate.
This April, join Black feminist, academic, author, and co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective Dr. Brittney Cooper, along with writer, activist, and editor Darnell L. Moore, as they break down the ways their work informs, challenges, and shapes our understanding of the current political situation. Following the tradition of black literary salons, our guests will interrogate each other’s work and engage in a lively discussion on the intersection of race and gender in their activism; the importance of translating theory into accessible ideas that inspire collective change; and how we can use our freedom, power, and rage to change the world.
In celebration and defiance during Banned Books Week 2017, PEN America in partnership with Strand Books invites authors--whose books have been banned or challenged because of their cover art and content--to discuss their experiences, and how to get skeptical readers to live up to the saying 'don't judge a book by its cover.'
We cross borders in our daily lives: on the subway between boroughs, in conversation, and in writing. The borders we cross define who we are. The boundaries writers and translators traverse in their work gives us a rich and varied literary landscape, and it is vital that they continue to reflect and contribute to the diversity of our world.
The topic of borders and boundaries has been at the forefront of people's minds, and it is important that these borders remain open, so that ideas, dreams, stories, and people can cross them easily, adding to the richness on either side.
In today’s political climate, the creative processes that allow us to sustain and express ourselves are more important than ever. Join PEN America in partnership with Strand Book Store for an intimate poetry reading with two award-winning authors whose work navigates themes of mental health, and the often obscured line between self-hate and self-love
This December, join PEN America in partnership with the Strand Book Store as we present a feminist retrospective of the year. We will reflect on women’s roles at the forefront of the resistance, looking back at where we’ve been, and discussing the ways we can stand together to face what is to come.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.