December 2: The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story: Joy Williams















The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story: Joy Williams

Friday, December 2nd, 2016  |  7:30 PM
Purchase a single ticket for $25.

Folger Reading Room – Old Reading Room
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003 (map)


Given since 1988 in Honor of the late Bernard Malamud, this award recognizes a body of work demonstrating excellence in the art of short fiction. This year we will honor Joy Williams, a writer known for her crisp prose, grim wit, and unsparing explorations of the dark side of hope.

Joy Williams is the author of four novels, two collections of nonfiction, and five short story collections including The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories (2015), and 99 Stories of God (2016).

Her first novel, State of Grace (1973), was a finalist for the National Book Award and her most recent novel The Quick and the Dead was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her collection of nonfiction Ill Nature was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and she was the 1999 recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story.

“In Williams’s world, we are all wandering interlopers— adrift, trapped, groundless—looking for visitors’ privileges.” – James Wood, The New Yorker

About the Award

Malamud - small with both armsThe PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story was established by Bernard Malamud’s family to honor excellence in the art of short fiction. The basis of the award fund was a gift from the Malamud family. The fund continues to grow through the generosity of friends, supporters, and Reading Series subscribers. The readings and the fund are administered by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. A panel of PEN/Faulkner directors forms the selection committee for the awards.

October 20th: The Inaugural Eudora Welty Lecture: Salman Rushdie

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One Writer’s Beginnings: The Inaugural Eudora Welty Lecture with Salman Rushdie

Introduction by: Natasha Trethewey

Co-sponsored by the Eudora Welty Foundation in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library

Thursday, October 20th, 2016  |  7:30 PM

Purchase a single ticket for $24

Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016 (map)




“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily—perhaps not possibly—chronological. The time as  we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.”

Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings


Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author whose awards include the Best of the Man Booker and a British knighthood, will deliver the inaugural Eudora Welty Lecture at the Washington National Cathedral. Rushdie will speak on his creative origins as a writer, following in the tradition of Eudora Welty’s own best-selling published lectures, One Writer’s Beginnings.

Tickets are $24 and can be purchased on the Cathedral’s website.



rushdie_book_jacketSalman Rushdie is the author of twelve novels, including the Man Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, and, most recently, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. He has also published a significant body of non-fiction, including The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, and The Wizard of Oz. In 2008, Midnight’s Children was named the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 40 years of existence. He has won the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature and is a fellow of the Royal Society for Literature and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him a knighthood.

While Rushdie has written hyped up sagas of worlds colliding before, and always espouses reason over fanaticism, there is something so loopy, so unleashed, about this tale as to make it particularly thrilling.”
Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News

Natasha Trethewey
is an American poet who served as the United States Poet Laureate, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Mississippi. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her 2006 collection  Native Guard. She is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, where she also directs the Creative Writing Program.

For more information about the Eudora Welty Foundation, click here.

Fall Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

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PEN/Faulkner Award Fall Intern

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is a national prize which honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year.

This internship position will assist with the coordination of the annual awards submission process. The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the largest peer-juried award in the country, and is adjudicated free of commercial considerations. The intern will assist in logistical coordination of the submission process, as well as conduct research into American fiction published during 2016.

The internship will begin in mid-September and run through December. However, if an intern is interested in extending his/her internship into the spring semester, this can be coordinated. We expect a commitment of 7-10 hours per week, though the intern will have the flexibility to design his or her own schedule. Interns will:

  • Conduct research on contemporary authors & texts
  • Communicate with publicists & awards coordinators at publishing houses
  • Help track submissions

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to by Friday, September 16th, 2016. Please use the subject line “Awards Internship.”



Teen Parent Book Club Discussion Leader

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is currently seeking volunteer discussion leaders for their Teen Parent Book Club program. Discussion leaders will lead group discussions of contemporary novels, short stories, memoirs, and poetry with groups of participating teen parents at local high schools. Discussion leaders will then host local authors of those works to meet with students and engage in discussions about literature and the writing life.

The program meets bi-weekly for hour-long sessions at lunchtime in on-site drop-in centers for teen parents and will run throughout the 2016-2017 school year. PEN/Faulkner is asking for a total time commitment of 5 hours/month. Volunteers will:

  • Lead bi-weekly book club discussions at one of three DC Public High Schools
  • Coordinate book club selections in consultation with participating students
  • Design discussion activities for each book club meeting
  • Engage contemporary authors in discussions of their work

Interested volunteers should have:

  • Classroom experience, preferably working with non-traditional students
  • Interest in contemporary fiction, poetry or literary non-fiction
  • A desire to engage diverse audiences in discussions about literature
  • Patience
  • Intellectual flexibility
  • Daytime availability during the week

*Candidates fluent in Spanish should make a note of this in their cover letter. However, Spanish fluency is not a requirement for this position.

If you are interested, please send a résumé́ and a brief cover letter (no more than 1 page) explaining your interest to Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen (


Writers in Schools (WinS) is a FREE literary arts outreach program that brings copies of contemporary works of literature into DC high schools, and arranges for the authors of those works to visit classrooms and discuss literature and the writing life. PEN/Faulkner provides resources to aid teachers in preparing students for author visits that will be enriching experiences for all involved. Volunteers help escort authors on their WinS visits, and assist the organization in providing feedback for our program.

Reasons to become a WinS volunteer:

• Help facilitate a connection between authors and young readers in DC
• Get a first-hand look into DC Area Schools
• Meet local authors and engage in discussions about their work!
• Become a part of the PEN/Faulkner literary community

Interested? Email Greg Langen, PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools Program Coordinator, at, or call at 202-898-9063.

Subscribe to the 2016-2017 PEN/Faulkner Reading Series!


Join us this year at the Folger Shakespeare Library and partake in one of Washington’s most unique and provoking literary series

  • Hear a diverse set of acclaimed authors read
  • Guarantee your seat
  • Save 20% off single ticket prices, including the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner
  • Enjoy book-signing receptions at the Folger Shakespeare Library

How To Subscribe

To subscribe, call the Folger Shakespeare Library’s box office: 202-544-7077. You can also subscribe online. Simply visit

2016-2017 Reading Series Events

October 20th, 2016 | 7:30 p.m. ($24.00)
The Eudora Welty Lecture: Salman Rushdie
Presented by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation. This inaugural lecture will be held at the National Cathedral.

December 2nd, 2016 | 7:30 p.m. ($25.00)
The PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story: Honoring Joy Williams

January 10th, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
What Culture We Consume: Hilton Als and Roxane Gay in Conversation

February 21st, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
Cli-Fi: Nathaniel Rich and Kate Walbert

March 6th, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
Class in the Black Community: Angela Flournoy, Marcus Guillory, and Margo Jefferson

March 13th, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
We Wear the Masks: Manuel Gonzales and Gary Jackson
Presented by PEN/Faulkner and the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series

April 7th, 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
The Displaced: An Evening with Laila Lalami, Shobha Rao and Luis Urrea

May 6th, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. ($100)
The 37th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Unless otherwise noted, individual tickets are $15, with discounts for
students and seniors, and readings take place at the Folger Shakespeare
Library, located at 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC
(one block east of the U.S. Capitol). Seating is general admission.

RISK: The 28th Annual PEN/Faulkner Celebration

Risk Celebration Author Collage


RISK: The 28th Annual PEN/Faulkner Celebration
Monday, September 26th, 2016  |  6:30 PM

On Monday, Sept. 26th, 2016, PEN/Faulkner will hold its 28th Annual PEN/Faulkner Celebration at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. This annual event supports the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and our Writers in Schools programming, and features some of today’s finest authors reading works composed especially for the occasion.

This year, acclaimed authors Charles Bock, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Andrew Dubus III, Paul Goldberg, Daisy Hernández, Wil Haygood, Kelly Link, Beverly Lowry, Elizabeth Nunez, Brad Watson, Morowa Yejidé and Master of Ceremonies Calvin Trillin will take to the Folger’s stage to present work written on the theme of RISK.

Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Garden, and the reading program starts at 7:30 p.m. The program will be followed by a dinner reception with chef stations featuring food prepared by local chefs. There will be lounge areas as well as tables available for pre-purchase.

Please note that this is no longer a seated event, and that it is no longer black tie. 

Individual tickets to the event are $500. More information can be attained and tickets purchased by calling the PEN/Faulkner office at 202-898-9063. Tickets are also available online.

You can also listen to readings from previous Gala celebrations as episodes of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast. Episode 21 comes from 2013’s “Renewal” Gala, Episode 34 comes from 2014’s “Danger” Gala, and finally Episode 47 features last fall’s PEN/Faulkner Celebration on the theme of “Spark.”

Episode 52 – Edna O’Brien

Author photo_EdnaOBrien_LITTLEREDCHAIRS

Edna O’Brien at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Moderated by PEN/Faulkner Board Director Emeritus Stephen Goodwin

Edna O’Brien has been hailed as the doyenne of Irish literature. From the beginning of her career, O’Brien broke literary ground, writing openly about female sexuality in her first novel, The Country Girls. The book was lauded by critics and banned by the Irish Censorship Board. The idea that women had sex lives was, at that time, an obscene notion.

In the half century that’s followed, O’Brien has become one of the most celebrated writers in the English language.  She’s received the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, the Irish PEN Lifetime Achievement Award, and honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. O’Brien joined Stephen Goodwin at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue to discuss her latest novel The Little Red Chairs  her “masterpiece,” says Philip Roth – and to share her singular genius with us.


Thank you to Benedict Kupstas and Field Guides for donating the music used in this episode. Listen here to Field Guides’ album Boo, Forever.

Geraldine Brooks in conversation with Sally Quinn


Geraldine Brooks in conversation with Sally Quinn
A Collaboration with the Scottish Rite Masons
Tuesday, June 7th at 7:00 PM
Scottish Rite Center
2800 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009 [Map] Free | Email for tickets 

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Geraldine Brooks will engage in conversation with Sally Quinn, legendary Washington Post reporter. The two will discuss Brooks’s latest novel, The Secret Chord, religion, and the writing life. The New York Times described The Secret Chord as, “a thundering, gritty, emotionally devastating reconsideration of the story of King David.” Quinn served as a reporter for the Washington Post for over four decades, and now writes a blog for the paper, titled “On Faith.”

A buffet supper will immediately follow the panel discussion.

This event is entirely free, but seats are limited. Email to reserve a ticket.

Please note:
  • Parking is limited to street parking, so please plan accordingly
  • This event will be held at the Scottish Rite building at 2800 16th (at Columbia Road NW) NOT at the Scottish Rite building at 16th & S


Australian-born Geraldine Brooks brooks grew up in Sydney where she worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Wall Street Journal. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her second novel, March. Her novels Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book were both New York Times best sellers. Her first novel, Year of Wonders is an international bestseller that has been translated into more than 25 languages.

Sally Quinn is an American author and journalist, who writes about religion for a blog at the Washington Post. In 1973, she joined the CBS News team as a co-anchor on the CBS Morning News. She published the books We’re Going to Make You a Star in 1975 and The Party: A Guide To Adventurous Entertaining in 1977.

The 36th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner


The 36th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner

May 14th, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Folger Shakespeare Library

2016 PENF Award CollageCelebrating the winner as “first among equals,” the 36th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $100.

The event will feature the judges’ citations for each finalist’s book, the conferral of the PEN/Faulkner Award on James Hannaham for Delicious Foods, and a reading by each author. NPR arts and culture correspondent Neda Ulaby will serve as our Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

After the readings, we’ll adjourn to the Old Reading Room of the Folger Shakespeare Library for a buffet dinner with the judges, finalists, and winner. By purchasing a table for 10, you guarantee seats with your friends, an exclusive chance to pre-select your spot in the Reading Room, and the opportunity to sit with a local author.

To purchase tickets, click here or call the Folger Box Office at 202-544-7077; to purchase a table, call the Box Office. We can’t wait to see you there!

“The most incredible part of this incredible, wonderful award are the people who are on this stage with me.” – Karen Joy Fowler, 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner

Announcing the 2016 PEN/Malamud Award Winner

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is pleased to announce that Joy Williams will receive the 2016 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story in an Award Ceremony & Reading held at the Folger Shakespeare Library in December 2016.

Joy Williams is the author most recently of the short story collection The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories. She has written four novels, five story collections, and one essay collection, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her fiction has received many honors, including the Rea Award for the Short Story and the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Williams now lives in Key West, Florida and Tucson, Arizona.

Click here for more information about the PEN/Malamud Award.

Episode 51 – Mitchell S. Jackson and Leslie Jamison

I Feel Your Pain: An Evening with Mitchell S. Jackson and Leslie Jamison

Moderated by PEN/Faulkner Board President Richard McCann

Mitchell S. Jackson’s novel The Residue Years, the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, is based on his own coming-of-age, in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood harrowed by the crack cocaine epidemic. Leslie Jamison’s widely-lauded essay collection The Empathy Exams starts with her own memories of working as a model patient for medical students and goes on to explore how we perceive other people’s pain. Both writers investigate the extremes of experience – their own and others’ – in dazzling fiction and essays.


Thank you to Benedict Kupstas and Field Guides for donating the music used in this episode. Listen here to Field Guides’ album Boo, Forever.