Cocktails with Mitchell S. Jackson and Leslie Jamison



Join PEN/Faulkner to welcome Mitchell Jackson and Leslie Jamison to D.C. with cocktails, conversation, and Union Kitchen catering at Compass Coffee! Doors open at 6:30 PM on Sunday, March 20th. Tickets are $75 here or at 202-898-9063. Student tickets are here.

Proceeds benefit Writers in Schools, PEN/Faulkner’s literary outreach program in D.C. and Baltimore.



The First Annual Eudora Welty Lecture in Washington, D.C.

welty collage


Salman Rushdie to Give the Inaugural Eudora Welty Lecture in Washington, D.C.

A new endowed lecture to be presented by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation

Tickets $24


The PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation announce the creation of the Eudora Welty Lecture to be held in Washington, D.C. as part of the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series. The first Eudora Welty Lecture will be held on October 20, 2016, at 7:30 PM at the National Cathedral. The inaugural lecturer will be Salman Rushdie. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased on the Cathedral’s website.

The Eudora Welty Lecture will be open to the public and will be an important and unique addition to Washington, D.C.’s literary culture. The lecturers will be chosen from the most prominent writers working in the English language today. Each lecturer will present an original talk on the topic of their creative origins. Lecturers will receive a $20,000 honorarium.


Eudora Welty is the author of such acclaimed works as The Optimist’s Daughter, Delta Wedding and the short story collection A Curtain of Green. Her many honors include the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award for Fiction, and the Gold Medal for the Novel, given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters for her complete works in fiction.

Salman 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.


To read the full press release, click here. For more information about the Eudora Welty Foundation, click here.

PEN/Faulkner and the Folger Theatre Present: Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich Credit Paul Emmel

Louise Erdrich

May 10th, 2016  |  7:30 PM

In Collaboration with the Library of Congress

Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003 (map)

Tickets $15 online or at 202-544-7077

“Book by book, over the past three decades, Louise Erdrich has built one of the most moving and engrossing collections of novels in American literature.”

– Ron Charles, Washington Post Book World

LaRoseLouise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels, a volume of short stories, several books of poetry, and a series of children’s books. Her novel The Round House won the 2012 National Book Award; she is a former Guggenheim Fellow and has received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. 

In 2015, Erdrich received the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, a lifetime achievement award, presented at the National Book Festival this past September. On May 10th, Erdrich will join PEN/Faulkner at an event co-hosted by the Library of Congress to read from her forthcoming novel, LaRose.

Purchase Tickets



April 21st: Helen Oyeyemi


Helen Oyeyemi  |  What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets Takoma, in conversation with The New Yorker‘s Margaret Talbot

The last Spring 2016 PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose reading will be Helen Oyeyemi,  who is the author of five novels, including Boy, Snow, Bird; White is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award; and Mr Fox. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. She will be reading from her new story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.

 What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Feb. 11th: Alexander Chee

Alex_FinalAlexander Chee  |  The Queen of the Night

In Conversation with Hache Carrillo

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets Brookland

The Politics & Prose and PEN/Faulkner Reading Series returns with Alexander Chee, 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award Judge and author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. This reading is free and unticketed.

The Queen of the Night: 

queen of the nightLilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.

As she mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris. In order to survive, she transformed herself from hippodrome rider to courtesan, from empress’s maid to debut singer, all the while weaving a complicated web of romance, obligation, and political intrigue.

Featuring a cast of characters drawn from history, The Queen of the Night follows Lilliet as she moves ever closer to the truth behind the mysterious opera and the role that could secure her reputation — or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.

Feb. 23rd: Celeste Ng and John Wray



Not Waving but Drowning: An Evening with Celeste Ng and John Wray

Moderated by Katy Waldman

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016  |  7:30 PM
Purchase a single ticket for $15

Folger Shakespeare Library – Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003 

A “perfect” daughter goes missing in an Ohio town in the 1970s; a schizophrenic teenaged boy escapes from a mental hospital to the New York subway. Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You) and John Wray (Lowboy) explore family secrets and expectations, adolescent yearning and the fascination with danger.


Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, a New York Times Notable Book and Amazon Best Book of the Year in 2014. Her fiction and essays have appeared in TriQuarterly, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. Her short story “Girls, At Play” received a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Everything I Never Told You is at heart the beautifully crafted story of a family in pain, and the many reasons, personal and societal, that the Lees have lived most of their lives as strangers to one another. Making us care so deeply about her characters is Ng’s triumph.” – May-Lee Chai, The Dallas Morning News



John Wray is the author of the novels The Right Hand of Sleep, which won a Whiting Writers’ Award, Canaan’s TongueLowboy, and The Lost Time Accidents (forthcoming February 2016). He is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He was the recipient of a Berlin Prize from the American Academy of Berlin and is a resident of New York City.

“What is impressive about [Lowboy] is its control, and its humane comprehension of radical otherness. In this regard, it ideally justifies itself, as one always hopes novels will. You can imagine replying to someone who was curious about what it’s like to be schizophrenic, ‘Well, start with John Wray’s novel.’”

– James Wood, The New Yorker

PEN/Faulkner Presents: Howard Jacobson


PEN/Faulkner Presents Howard Jacobson

In Conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Wonder of Will and with Hogarth Shakespeare

Monday, March 14th, 2016  |  7:30 PM
Purchase a single ticket for $15

Folger Shakespeare Library – Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003 


The Wonder of Will is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 celebration of Shakespeare and his extraordinary legacy through special events, exhibitions, performances, and more—online, at the Folger, and across the United States.

The Hogarth Shakespeare series is a major international project in which some of today’s bestselling and most celebrated writers reimagine Shakespeare’s plays as contemporary novels. The books will be true to the spirit of the original plays, while giving authors an exciting opportunity to do something new.

Award-winning novelist and critic Howard Jacobson, best known for his prizewinning tragi-comic novels, will be the third novelist to publish in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, following Jeannette Winterson and Anne Tyler. He has chosen one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays – The Merchant of Venice. Jacobson comments:

“For an English novelist Shakespeare is where it all begins. For an English novelist who also happens to be Jewish The Merchant of Venice is where it all snarls up. ‘Who is the merchant and who is the Jew?’ Portia wanted to know.  Four hundred years later, the question needs to be reframed: ‘Who is the hero of this play and who is the villain?’ And if Shylock is the villain, why did Shakespeare choose to make him so?

Only a fool would think he has anything to add to Shakespeare.  But Shakespeare probably never met a Jew, the Holocaust had not yet happened, and anti-Semitism didn’t have a name. Can one tell the same story today, when every reference carries a different charge? There’s the challenge. I quake before it.”

Episode 48 – Replacement Lives


Replacement Lives: An Evening with David Bezmozgis, Boris Fishman, and Lara Vapnyar, Moderated by Olga Grushin

This evening was co-hosted by the Washington, DC JCC.

David Bezmozgis, Boris Fishman, and Lara Vapnyar were all born in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and moved to North America as part of a wave of Jewish emigration. All three write about leaving behind a country that will soon disappear and a history that is continually being re-written. They joined us for a discussion of East and West, language and identity, the old Russia and the new.

David Bezmozgis is the author of the story collection Natasha and Other Stories and the novels The Free World and The Betrayers.  His work has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and has been nominated for several awards, including the Governor General’s Award. He lives in Toronto.

Boris Fishman was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the author of the novel A Replacement Life and editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier. His journalism and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in New York City.

Lara Vapnyar is the author of two story collections, There Are Jews in My House and Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, and the novels Memoirs of a Muse and The Scent of Pine. Her work has appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker and Harper’s. She lives in Manhattan.



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

Episode 47 – SPARK: The 27th Annual PEN/Faulkner Celebration

gala group 2015

Back row, from left: Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Elliot Ackerman, Molly Antopol, Justin Taylor, T. Geronimo Johnson, and Marlon James. Front row, from left: Kseniya Melnik, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Susan Coll, Julie Otsuka, Jocelyn Reyes, and Celia Caldwell. Photo credit: James Brantley. 

Episode 47 brings you the 27th anniversary of the PEN/Faulkner Celebration, which was held on October 5th, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. The Gala celebrates and supports the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program. Twelve authors joined Master of Ceremonies Calvin Trillin at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre to explore the theme of Spark through original compositions written for the occasion. The event included our high school essay contest awards winners Celia Caldwell and Jocelyn Reyes, who read their prize-winning essays from the Folger stage alongside our other guest writers.

The episode features readings by Elliot Ackerman, Molly Antopol, Celia CaldwellSusan Coll, Marlon James, T. Geronimo Johnson, Kseniya Melnik, Dolen Perkins-ValdezKirstin Valdez Quade, Jocelyn Reyes, and Justin Taylor. Novelist Julie Otsuka read as well, but could not be featured on this podcast. Author and humorist Calvin Trillin served as the Master of Ceremonies.

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

PEN/Faulkner Celebrates #GivingTuesday

giving tues banner 1


This year, on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, PEN/Faulkner is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global giving day designed to bring communities together.

Last year, over 30,000 organizations in 68 countries participated in #GivingTuesday. We were proud to be one of them, and we’re excited to get back on board in 2015.

You can donate to PEN/Faulkner here or on social media. To donate on Twitter, Tweet #donate followed by a dollar amount @penfaulkner, and to donate on Facebook, comment #donate followed by a dollar amount on any of our posts. And once you’ve donated, click here to find out if your employer will double your donation.

You can join us in spreading the word about #GivingTuesday! We invite you to learn more about it at, and to make a difference with us.