February 21st: Cli-Fi: Nathaniel Rich and Kate Walbert


Cli-Fi: Nathaniel Rich and Kate Walbert

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017  |  7:30 PM
Purchase a single ticket for $15

Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol St., SE
Washington, DC 20003 

The latest novels of Nathaniel Rich (Odds Against Tomorrow) and Kate Walbert (The Sunken Cathedral) masterfully portray visions of climate, landscape, and contemporary American life all in a state of flux.Their recent novels press us to more carefully consider our understandings of environmental and climate change, urban life and locations, and the implications of our landscapes edging towards doom. Join us on Tuesday, February 21st for what is sure to be a crucial and timely conversation on environmental disaster and the role fiction plays in the broader debate.


Nathaniel Rich is the author of two novels: Odd Against Tomorrow and The Mayor’s Tongue. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and his essays have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and The Daily Beast. Rich’s novel Odds Against Tomorrow introduces us to an insurance analyst who, after accurately predicting natural disaster, braves the rising tides of a submerged city. Rich currently lives in New Orleans.

“This brilliantly conceived and extremely well-executed novel…is the opposite of a disaster, a knockout book by a young writer to keep your eye on.”
-Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered




Kate Walbert is the author of A Short History of Women, chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2009 and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, Our Kind, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2004, The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the 2002 Connecticut Book Award in Fiction in 2002, and Where She Went, a collection of linked stories and New York Times notable book. Her most recent novel The Sunken Cathedral tells the intersecting stories of neighbors in a weather-threatened, flood-prone Manhattan. She currently lives in New York City with her family.

“A powerful elegy for a fading New York City and for the planet as a whole.”
–Courtney Sullivan, The Boston Globe

January 10th: Urgently Human: Roxane Gay and Morgan Parker in Conversation

Urgently Human: Morgan Parker and Roxane Gay in Conversation

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017  |  7:30 PM
Purchase a single ticket for $15

Lutheran Church of the Reformation (across the street from the Folger Shakespeare Library)
212 East Capitol St., NE
Washington, DC 20003 

Morgan Parker and Roxane Gay are two of our most incisive cultural observers. Their singular works press us to more carefully consider our understandings of racial and gender identity, movies and magazines, torture and love and joy. Join us on Tuesday, January 10th for what is sure to be a wide-ranging and urgent conversation.


otherpeoplescomfort_smallMorgan Parker is the author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize and also a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Her second collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, will come out in February of 2017. She works as an editor for Little A and Day One, teaches creative writing and co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series.


“Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night is hilarious and hard-hitting, and it ripples with energy, insight and searing music.
Tracy K. Smith




difficulttRoxane Gay is a fiction writer and essayist whose most recent works are the best-selling essay collection, Bad Feminist, the memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, and the short story collection Difficult Women. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, American Short FictionVirginia Quarterly Review, the New York Times, the Guardian, Bookforum, Time, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She is a recipient of the PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award, among other honors. She splits her time between Indiana and Los Angeles.

“A strikingly fresh cultural critic.”
–Ron Charles, the Washington Post

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

welty collage

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.

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.”

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 rsvp@penfaulkner.org 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 rsvp@penfaulkner.org 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

The PEN/Faulkner Award Judges’ Reading

judges collage

PEN/Faulkner Presents: The 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award Judges

Abby Frucht, Molly McCloskey, & Sergio Troncoso

Thursday, May 12th, 2016  |  7:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Register Here

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Join us to kick off the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award weekend with readings by this year’s Award judges, all exceptional fiction writers themselves: Abby Frucht, Molly McCloskey, and Sergio Troncoso!

abby frucht coverAbby Frucht‘s new novel, A Well Made Bed, on which she collaborated with Laurie Alberts, was published in March 2016 by Red Hen Press. Her five other novels include SNAP, Licorice, Are You Mine?, Life Before Death, and Polly’s Ghost,and her two collections of stories are Fruit of the Month, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize for 1987, and The Bell at the End of a Rope.The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, Frucht lives in Wisconsin and has been on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts for twenty years.






Molly McCloskey was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Oregon. After spending 23 years in Ireland, she now lives between Washington, DC and Dublin. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Solomon’s Seal; a novella, The Beautiful Changes; and a novel, Protection. Her first work of nonfiction, a memoir concerning her brother Mike, who suffers from schizophrenia, is entitled Circles Around the Sun: In Search of a Lost Brother (2012). She is a regular contributor to the Irish Times and the Dublin Review, and has taught writing at universities in Ireland and the US, serving as Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and at University College Dublin. In 2013/2014, she was the Jenny McKean Moore Fellow at George Washington University.




wicked dustSergio Troncoso is the author of the novels The Nature of Truth and From This Wicked Patch of Dust, named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best novels of 2012. Troncoso is also the author of Crossing Borders: Personal Essays and The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, and he co-edited Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence. Among the numerous awards he has won are the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize, Southwest Book Award, Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews, and International Latino Book Award. He is a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference. He lives in New York City.



And don’t miss the judges at the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony on May 14th!

Tickets and information: www.penfaulkner.org/award-for-fiction/

DC – 2016 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Summer Supper & Book Club – DEADLINE EXTENDED

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 10.38.37 PM

Our DEADLINE has been extended. Please complete the Summer Supper & Book Club Application — by 5 p.m. on Wednesday June 15, 2016.

Summer is almost here (I know!), and while the school year is coming to a close, our Writers in Schools programming is not! Join us for the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Summer Supper & Book Club and spend your summer reading great books, eating pizza and having invigorating conversations with local DC authors.

What is the Summer Supper & Book Club? 

The 2016 Summer Supper & Book Club, an initiative of PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program, will provide students with free copies of contemporary literature and the opportunity to meet and discuss those books with the authors who wrote them. The program will also provide an informal dinner and supplementary materials to participating students. Students familiar with our Writers in Schools Program will notice many similarities (and a few pleasant surprises) between our Summer Supper & Book Club and Writers in Schools Programming.


Sessions start Tuesday, June 21, 2016 and run every Tuesday evening from 5:30 — 8:00 p.m. (6/21, 6/28, 7/5, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2) through August 2, 2016.


The Summer Supper & Book Club will meet
at Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital in Eastern Market
921 Pennsylvania Ave SE  |  Washington, DC 20003
Accessible by Metro, just 1.5 blocks from the Eastern Market station and Pennsylvania Ave. Bus lines.
{Click here for Map}

Apply Here:

Interested students must complete the Summer Supper & Book Club Application — by 5 p.m. on Wednesday June 15, 2016.

Note: Students must be in the class of 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020

Questions? Email PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen: glangen@penfaulkner.org

The program is entirely FREE.


April 27th – Free Minds Book Club

We Can Be the Change: Voices of Incarcerated Youth
Free Minds Poetry Reading & Community Dialogue
Wednesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. 
Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003 [Map] Reserve Your Free Tickets Here

Read about Writers in Schools and Free Minds Book Club in The Washington Post.

Please join us for an evening of poetry and community dialogue brought to you by Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop and PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program.

Be a part of the solution by listening to poetry and first-hand experiences from the formerly incarcerated poets featured in The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison, a literary journal collecting poetry by Free Minds members and personal essays by young men who are now home from prison and overcoming the odds. Following the poetry reading, there will be a moderated discussion about causes and potential solutions to violence in our city. Panelists will include formerly incarcerated Free Minds members as well as other returning citizens who have overcome the odds. By getting everyone on the same page, we create a stronger, healthier community.

Free Minds uses books, creative writing, and peer support to awaken DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential. Through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, these young poets achieve their education and career goals, and become powerful voices for change in the community. This mirrors the mission of PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools, which works to foster an active and thoughtful next generation of readers by bringing professional writers and their recent works directly into DC classrooms for discussions about literature and life.

In the past four years, Free Minds and PEN/Faulkner have teamed up to blend these two programs, bringing Free Minds writers who are home from prison into high school classrooms to read and discuss their own poetry and experiences with local students. This evening gives Free Minds and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation the opportunity to extend this work out into the broader community.

We Can Be the Change: Voices of Incarcerated Youth is made possible by a grant from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.