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

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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.

March 7th: A. Igoni Barrett


A. Igoni Barrett  |  Blackass

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets 14th & V

PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose present A. Igoni Barrett, author of Blackass and Love Is Power, or Something Like That. He is a winner of the 2005 BBC World Service short story competition, the recipient of a Chinua Achebe Center Fellowship, a Norman Mailer Center Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency.


blackassFuro Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he’s been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he’s been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar, and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.

A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us, simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly depicts life in contemporary Nigeria, and details the double-dealing and code-switching that is implicit in everyday business. But it’s Furo’s search for an identity—one deeper than skin—that leads to the final unraveling of his own carefully constructed story.

Feb. 21st: Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara  |  A Little Life

In Conversation with Mic’s Madhulikka Sikka

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

PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose present Hanya Yanagihara, Man Booker- and National Book Award-shortlisted author of A Little Life and The People in the Trees. This event is free and unticketed.

A Little Life

little lifeWhen four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

PEN/Faulkner Presents: Edna O’Brien

edna obrien


Edna O’Brien

April 3rd, 2016  |  6:00 PM

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
600 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001 (map)

Tickets $20 online or at 877-987-6487

Edna O’Brien has been hailed as the doyenne of Irish literature. Her first novel in a decade, The Little Red Chairs – her “masterpiece,” says Philip Roth – will be released in March 2016. 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 will discuss her new novel and share her genius with us, if just for an evening.

Purchase Tickets


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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

We’re Looking for a Teen Parent Book Club Discussion Leader!

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Teen Parent Book Club Discussion Leader

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is currently seeking 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 2015-2016 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 five 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 (, by Friday, January 22nd, 2016.

Episode 49 – Deborah Eisenberg

Deborah Eisenberg
In Episode 49 of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast, we present the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction to Deborah Eisenberg. Eisenberg reads here from the short story “Your Duck is My Duck,” published in Fence Magazine.
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 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 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.

International Writing Program Spotlight Reading November 5th

Logo of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa

Join PEN/Faulkner, the Library of Congress, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) for a spotlight reading with four of this year’s IWP residents!

Residents Nael Eltoukhy (Egypt), Harris Khalique (Pakistan), Birgül Oğuz (Turkey) and Margarita Mateo Palmer (Cuba) read selections of their work and participate in a moderated discussion with Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program. This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, November 5th
4:00 – 5:30 PM
Mumford Room
James Madison Building, 6th Floor
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE—Washington, DC



The International Writing Program is one of the most respected international writers’ organizations in the world. Founded by Paul Engle and Hualing Nieh-Engle in 1967, the IWP has hosted over 1,400 writers from 140 countries and counts among its distinguished alumni two Nobel Prize winners (Orhan Pamuk and Mo Yan). IWP residents come to the states to write, of course, but also to engage in the literary culture of Iowa City (a UNESCO-designated City of Literature), to share their work and culture with others, and to learn more about American letters and university life.