Announcing PEN/Faulkner’s New Executive Director: Gwydion Suilebhan!

Washington, DC: The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is delighted to announce the selection of Gwydion Suilebhan as the organization’s new Executive Director. Suilebhan, who is currently serving as the Director of Brand and Marketing for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, will be joining the PEN/Faulkner staff on January 15, 2019.

“Gwydion is an inspiring leader with an extensive track record of innovation,” said Tracy B. McGillivary, the President of PEN/Faulkner’s Board of Directors. “He has devoted his entire career to advocating for writers of all ages, and his passion and curiosity are absolutely infectious. His deep understanding of the challenges facing writers in the 21st century, as well as his passion for answering those challenges, thrilled us.”

Suilebhan currently serves as a member of the senior staff of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, one of the most important, critically-acclaimed theaters in the United States producing new plays. As Woolly’s brand steward, he’s responsible for connecting the theater’s rousing, visceral, enlightening work to an increasingly diverse and demanding modern audience. Suilebhan also holds a second position as the Project Director of the New Play Exchange—the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers—for the National New Play Network. As the platform’s chief architect and evangelist, he has radically transformed the ways in which writers and producers share and discover work.

“To lead the PEN/Faulkner Foundation—an organization that’s deeply committed to the beautiful notion of writers both celebrating and educating other writers—is a profound and meaningful opportunity for me,” said Suilebhan. “I cannot wait to build on four decades of literary history, both national and local, and to ensure that the PEN/Faulkner mission stays relevant and vital.”

In addition to his work as an administrator, which has included stints in both publishing and academia, Suilebhan is an accomplished writer. A member of the Dramatists Guild Council and a co-founder of The Welders—a Helen Hayes Award-winning playwrights collective—Suilebhan writes and devises new work for both stage and screen. Earlier in his career, after earning his M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, he wrote poetry and served as the poetry editor of Barrelhouse magazine.

“Gwydion is the right person to lead our organization for several reasons, not least of which is because he already understands the significance of the work we do,” said novelist and PEN/Faulkner board member H.G. Carrillo, who serves as the chair of the Foundation’s Awards and Human Resources committees. “We ran a thorough search process to find our new Executive Director, and we’re incredibly lucky to have found a leader with a rare combination of experience and credentials. He has tremendous insight, and he’s going to do great things.”

—————

GWYDION SUILEBHAN, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, is an American writer, innovator, and arts advocate. A playwright, screenwriter, and poet, Suilebhan has served as a Council member of the Dramatists Guild of America since 2017. He is the architect of the New Play Exchange for the National New Play Network and a founding member of The Welders, a Helen Hayes Award-winning playwrights collective in Washington, DC. Suilebhan previously served as the Director of Brand and Marketing for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

As a writer, Suilebhan’s work has been noted for its “dexterous theatricality and unexpected pleasure” (Washington Post). He is the author of several plays, including The Butcher, Reals, Abstract Nude, Let X, and the Helen Hayes Award-nominated Transmission, among others. His work has been commissioned, developed, and produced by Centerstage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Forum Theatre, Theater J, and Theater Alliance, among others. Suilebhan is also the author of Anthem, a short film directed by Hal Hartley, and a forthcoming (2019) web series called All Souls.

Earlier in his career, Suilebhan primarily wrote poetry and non-fiction. He served as the poetry editor of Barrelhouse from 2004 to 2006 and taught creative writing as an adjunct member of the faculty of the Maryland Institute, College of Art. Two of his plays—Abstract Nude and Cracked—have been published by Original Works. Suilebhan has received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, two from the Montgomery County Arts Council, and one from the Maryland State Arts Council. He was also the recipient of a Larry Neal Writers Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Suilebhan earned a Master of Arts in poetry in 1993 from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Allen Grossman and Peter Sacks. In 1990, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in writing from Northwestern University, where he studied with essayist Joseph Epstein and poets Mary Kinzie and Alan Shapiro.

Tickets On Sale Now For The 2018 PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony!

Don’t miss out on attending the 30th Annual PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony on Saturday, December 8, 2018. This ceremony will be held at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue at 7:30pm. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at bit.ly/penmalamud.

The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story was established in 1988 by Bernard Malamud’s family to honor the best published collections of short fiction. This year’s winners, Amina Gautier and Joan Silber, will be honored in a ceremony at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, where they will read from their work and be presented with the $5,000 prize.

Books by the honored writers will be available for sale, and the ceremony will be followed by a book signing onstage.

*This event is not sponsored by Sixth & I

Get tickets now for Finding Home!

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation & GWU’s Institute for Middle East Studies invite you to delve into the intricacies of Arab American identity through the individual experiences of some of today’s most celebrated literary voices.

Join notable Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Allam as she sits down with Osama Alomar, Susan Darraj, and Laila Halaby to discuss what “Finding Home” looks like for an Arab American, especially in today’s political climate.

Tickets are on sale now! Don’t miss out on PEN/Faulkner’s second Literary Conversation of the year!

Last Chance for Literary Horror Night Tickets! 10/29 at 7pm

Join us on Monday, October 29 at Penn Social for our first Literary Conversation of the season. A night filled with horror and incredible literature to prepare you for Halloween! Get tickets now before they sell out!

Dan Chaon, (Ill Will), Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves), and Brian Evenson (A Collapse of Horses) will read from their work and engage in conversation about what horror fiction as a genre says about the very real horrors we face on a daily basis. This evening will be moderated by bestselling and award-winning author, Elizabeth HandYou won’t want to miss these critically-acclaimed authors at our pre-Halloween celebration!

Tickets include a free drink upon entry (THIS EVENT IS 21+), and the onstage discussion will be followed by a book signing. Books will be onsale before and after the readings!

Announcing PEN/Faulkner’s Fall Season of Literary Conversations and Events!

Literary Conversations are PEN/Faulkner’s regular public programming events, which are designed to capture the most significant literary and societal conversations of the moment. Unlike other reading events, Literary Conversations are moderated discussions embedded with opportunities for writers to read from their work. At their very core, they are organic discussions featuring the most highly acclaimed contemporary authors, discussing their work in the context of all that is happening in the world today. This brings literature to life, and allows readers to build meaningful connections to the words on the page.

We are excited to announce this year’s Fall Season of events! We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 29
Literary Horror Night
7pm at Penn Social (801 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20004)
                    

Join the PEN/Faulkner Foundation as we delve into the Halloween spirit during our Literary Horror Night, hosted at an exciting new space, Penn Social! Dan Chaon, (Ill Will), Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves), and Brian Evenson (A Collapse of Horses) will read from their work and engage in conversation about what horror fiction as a genre says about the very real horrors we face on a daily basis. This evening will be moderated by bestselling and award-winning author, Elizabeth Hand. You won’t want to miss these critically-acclaimed authors at our pre-Halloween celebration!

Tuesday, November 27
Finding Home
7pm at GWU’s Jack Morton Auditorium (805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052)
                 
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation & GWU’s Institute of Middle Eastern Studies invite you to delve into the intricacies of Arab American identity through the individual experiences of some of today’s most celebrated literary voices. Join notable Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Allam as she sits down with Osama Alomar (The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories), Susan Darraj (A Curious Land: Stories from Home; The Inheritance of Exile) and Laila Halaby (Once in a Promised Land) to discuss what “Finding Home” looks like for an Arab American, especially in today’s political climate. These award-winning authors will also read from their work in what will be a fascinating and engaging evening.
                                                                                                                                          Saturday, December 8
2018 PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony
7:30pm at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
(600 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20001)

       

The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story was established in 1988 by Bernard Malamud’s family to honor the best published collections of short fiction. This year’s winners, Joan Silber and Amina Gautier, will be honored in a ceremony at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue where they will read from their work and be presented with the $5,000 prize.
*This event is not sponsored by Sixth & I.

Meet the Authors: 2018 Gala Edition

Though James Hannaham is an award winning author, he is also a performer and visual artist. His novel Delicious Foods was the winner of the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction as well as the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Hannaham’s novel follows three unforgettable characters: a mother, her son, and the drug that threatens to destroy their lives. While attending Yale University in 1992, Hannaham worked in the art department of The Village Voice. Creativity and talent in the arts run in his family, as artist Kara Walker is Hannaham’s cousin. Hannaham is now an associate professor in the writing departement at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Joan Silber was this year’s winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for her novel Improvement. The novel revolves around a young single mother living in New York, her eccentric aunt, and the decisions they make that have unexpected implications for the world around them. In addition, Silber’s short fiction, which has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Epoch, and many more, has won her the 2018 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Silber lives in New York, with her dog Lucille, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

Come join us on Monday, September 24 to hear James Hannaham, Joan Silber and eight other highly acclaimed authors read original pieces at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala. Buy tickets at pfgala.org. It will be a night of literary magic!

Meet the Authors: 2018 Gala Edition

ZZ Packer was recognized as a talented writer at the early age of 19 for her first significant publication “Sometimes You Get Lucky” in Seventeen magazine. Another of Packer’s short stories, featured  in the Debut Fiction issue of The New Yorker, became a title story in her collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. The collection was a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist, a New York Times Notable Book, and was personally selected by John Updike for the Today Show Book Club. Packer is currently working on a novel set in the aftermath of the Civil War specifically focused on the Reconstruction and Buffalo Soldiers. In an interview with SuicideGirls, Packer stated, “you don’t hear much about blacks in the West and I became really fascinated by them. I thought to justify my interest I had better write about them.”

Michael Cunningham is the author of seven novels including The Hours. The novel follows the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, who goes about her morning, planning a party in honor of a beloved friend; Laura Brown, a 1950s housewife, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb, as she begins to write “Mrs. Dalloway.” By the end of the novel, the stories are intricately intertwined. The novel was awarded the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was adapted into an Academy Award nominated film. His most recent book, A Wild Swan, was an NPR Best Book of the Year in 2015. Cunningham lives in New York City and teaches Creative Writing at Yale University.

Come join us on Monday, September 24 to hear ZZ Packer, Michael Cunningham and eight other highly acclaimed authors read original pieces at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala. Buy tickets at pfgala.org. It will be a night of literary magic!

 

Meet the Authors: 2018 Gala Edition

David Bradleys novel The Chaneysville Incident won the 1982 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Academy Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. The novel was inspired by the discovery of the graves of runaway slaves on a farm near Chaneysville in Bedford County, PA, where Bradley was born. In 1981, the New York Times Book Reviewer Vance Bourjaily stated, “What [Bradley] can do, at a pretty high level of energy, is synchronize five different kinds of rhetoric, control a complicated plot, manage a good-sized cast of characters, convey a lot of information, handle an intricate time scheme, pull off a couple of final tricks that dramatize provocative ideas, and generally keep things going for 200,000 words. That’s about two and a half books for most of us.”

Karen Joy Fowler’s novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was the winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The novel is a story of Rosemary Cooke who grapples with the silence that consumes her after her siblings have vanished from her life. Fowler is most known for her novel The Jane Austen Book Club, which was later adapted into a movie of the same name. Much of Fowler’s work is centered around the lives of women and the theme of alienation. We are excited to see how Fowler could potentially incorporate those themes into an original piece, based on the theme ‘Magic,’ at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala on September 24!

Come join us on Monday, September 24 to hear David Bradley, Karen Joy Fowler and eight other highly acclaimed authors read original pieces at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala. Buy tickets at pfgala.org. It will be a night of literary magic!

Meet the Authors: 2018 Gala Edition

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s second novel Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist, follows the life of a seventh grade teacher as she grapples with being new to teaching, being new to the school and being newly engaged. Her first novel Madeleine Is Sleeping was a National Book Award Finalist in 2004. A common theme in Bynum’s work is fairy tales, expressing that she loves how “they always walk that line between wonder and darkness.” Get excited to see how Bynum incorporates this year’s theme, ‘Magic,’ into her original piece, written for the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala.

Tobias Wolff is a short story writer, a memoirist and a novelist, and he is primarily known for his memoir This Boy’s Life. The story recounts the details of his adolescence as he moved around the country with his mother and abusive stepfather. Wolff has received several awards for his work, including the 1985 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. His short stories have established him as a highly acclaimed writer, however he won the 1985 award for his novella The Barracks Thief, a story of three young paratroopers in training during the Vietnam War. He currently lives in Northern California and is a Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University.

Come join us on Monday, September 24 to hear Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Tobias Wolff and eight other highly acclaimed authors read original pieces at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala. Buy tickets at pfgala.org. It will be a night of literary magic!

Meet the Authors: 2018 Gala Edition

Author and food enthusiast Kate Christensen is the author of seven novels, two food-centric memoirs, anthologies and several essays and articles. Her work has been published in magazines including Vogue, Elle, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Food and Wine. Her novel The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The story focuses on two competing biographers who investigate the secret life of Oscar Feldman, an artist who led an entirely separate life with his longtime mistress.  She writes an occasional drinks column for The Wall Street Journal called “With a Twist” and lives with her husband and dog in Portland, Maine.

Lorraine López’s short story collection Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was the winner of the Texas League of Writers Award for Outstanding Book of Fiction as well as a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist in 2010. The collection is set in the South and focuses on familial relationships, by birth and by choice. López is currently working on a linked story collection entitled, Postcards from the Gerund State and Other Stories, scheduled for publication in 2019. She is simultaneously working on a novel called What We Have Here. On top of that, she is the Gertrude Conaway Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Come join us on Monday, September 24 to hear Kate Chistensen, Lorraine López and eight other highly acclaimed authors read original pieces at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala. Buy tickets at pfgala.org. It will be a night of literary magic!