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.

 

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

The PEN/Faulkner Award Judges’ Reading

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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/

Episode 50 – Celeste Ng & John Wray

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

Moderated by Katy Waldman

 

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) joined us on February 23rd at the Folger Shakespeare Library to explore family secrets and expectations, adolescent yearning and the fascination with danger.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner

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Congratulations to James Hannaham, winner of the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Delicious Foods (Little, Brown), and congratulations again to our four finalists:

Julie Iromuanya for Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press)

Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer (Grove Atlantic)

Elizabeth Tallent for Mendocino Fire (HarperCollins)

Luis Alberto Urrea for The Water Museum (Little, Brown)


About the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Winner and Finalists:

JAMES HANNAHAM
Delicious Foods
(Little, Brown)

James Hannaham’s Delicious Foods is at once a sweeping American tale of race and exploitation, a darkly comedic thriller, and an intimate portrayal of a troubled mother and her damaged son. The narrative follows the lives of Darlene, a woman left ruined after the traumatic death of her husband; Eddie, her young son; and Scotty, crack cocaine personified, who threatens to destroy them both. After Darlene’s husband, a black civil activist, is murdered in a sleepy town in Louisiana, it is not long before Darlene’s grief drives her to drugs. Once she embarks on this dangerous path, crack addiction soon becomes sole motivating force of Darlene’s life, driving her into de facto enslavement at a farm called Delicious Foods. Hannaham is unafraid of the complex and the horrible, and yet his novel shines in its intimate details. Praising the novel in the New York Times, Ted Genoways writes, “The novel’s finest moments are…in the singular way that Hannaham can make the commonplace spring to life with nothing more than astute observation and precise language.”

James Hannaham is a journalist, critic and fiction writer, and is the author of the novel God Says No. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing at the Pratt Institute.

 

Julie IromuanyaJULIE IROMUANYA
Mr. and Mrs. Doctor
(Coffee House Press)

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, Julie Iromuanya’s first novel, begins with an enormous lie. Job, a Nigerian immigrant to the United States, has told his family in Nigeria that he is a doctor – and they’ve found him a wife who believes the same. The only problem is, Job never finished college. He’s a nursing assistant in Omaha, Nebraska, and he’s about to bring his new partner, Ifi, into an American life very different from the one she expects. Iromuanya takes on marriage and immigration with a keen eye for detail, a razor-sharp sense of humor, and a constant undercurrent of empathy for her characters and their ever-mounting lies.

Julie Iromuanya was born and raised in the Midwest, the daughter of Igbo Nigerian immigrants. She holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a Presidential Fellow and award-winning teacher, and was the inaugural Herbert W. Martin fellow at the University of Dayton. She now teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona, where she is an assistant professor of English and Africana literature.

 

VIET THANH NGUYEN
The Sympathizer
(Grove Atlantic)

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s startling debut novel, The Sympathizerbegins with the words, “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces.” What follows is the written confession of a North Vietnamese sleeper agent who, working as an attaché to a South Vietnamese general in the last days of The American War, flees to Los Angeles just before the fall of Saigon. There he remains a Communist mole and reports back to his handlers on a plot to return and overthrow the North Vietnamese regime. The Sympathizer evades easy categorization: it is a spy novel, a thriller, a picaresque tale of refugee life, and a cultural satire. But above all it is a propulsive meditation on the compromised and debased choices wrought by extreme politics and war. Philip Caputo writes that The Sympathizer “fills a void in the literature, giving voice to the previously voiceless while it compels the rest of us to look at the events of 40 years ago in a new light.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in the United States. He is the author of the academic book Race and Resistance, and his stories have appeared in Best New American VoicesTriQuarterly, and the Chicago Tribune. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the University of Southern California.

 

ELIZABETH TALLENT
Mendocino Fire
(HarperCollins)

Elizabeth Tallent’s evocative collection of stories, Mendocino Fire, opens with a young fisherman struggling with an overbearing father and his own involvement with illegal abalone fishing, and ends with an estranged daughter trying desperately to get to her father’s bedside during a blizzard. In between are stories narrated by a Virginia Woolf scholar, a mill worker, a creative writing student, and a tree-sitter who has made a redwood home for over 140 days – just to name a few. What the ten stories that make up Mendocino Fire all share is the world we live in: one of turbulent change and ecological peril. Each character leaves us gasping, because no matter what their story, Tallent peers into their inner lives with acuity and profound understanding.

This collection is Elizabeth Tallent’s first in 23 years; her others include Honey, Time with Children, and In Constant Flight, as well as the novel Museum Pieces. She has taught since 1989 in Stanford University’s Creative Writing program and lives on the Mendocino coast in California.

 

LUIS ALBERTO URREA
The Water Museum
(Little, Brown)

The Water Museum, award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, and poet Luis Urrea’s most recent short story collection, is rooted in the American West and Southwest, from the rural Idaho of “Mountains Without Number” to the fractured San Diego of “The Southside Raza Image Federation Corps of Discovery.” Urrea combines violence with humor, drama with intimate observation, and fiction with rock and roll. He loves his characters and he loves his landscape, and it shows. NPR’s Michael Schaub calls him “compassionate but hard-edged, a kind of literary badass who still believes in love… The Water Museum is a brilliant, powerful collection, and Luis Alberto Urrea is a master storyteller.”

Luis Alberto Urrea, who was born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, is a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. He is the author of 14 books, including The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Six Kinds of Sky, and Into the Beautiful North. He lives with his family in Napierville, Illinois, and teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

About the 2016 Judges:


Abby Frucht‘s
new novel, A Well Made Bed, on which she collaborated with Laurie Alberts, will be published in March 2016 by Red Hen Press. Her five other novels include SNAP, Licorice, Are You Mine?, Life Before Death, andPolly’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.

Sergio 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.

Buy Copies of the Books from Politics & Prose:

Politics and Prose logoOur longtime friends and partners at Politics & Prose will be on hand to sell copies of books by this year’s finalists and winner, and we encourage you to check out the store’s huge selections of books and amazing lineup of live events by visiting them online here: http://www.politics-prose.com/

 

Listen to the Podcast:

PEN/Faulkner Podcast LogoThe 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony & Reading will recorded and produced as an episode of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast. You can listen to past awards and other events on the Podcast Page.

You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

About the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

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. Three writers are chosen annually by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to serve as judges for the prize, and these judges are asked to select five books as finalists for the award, making this the largest peer-juried award in the country. Both the eventual winner of the award and all finalists are invited to Washington, D.C. for the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony and Dinner.

Celebrating the winner as “first among equals,” the 36th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. The event will feature the judges’ citations for each finalist’s book, the conferral of the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a reading by each author.

Each year, the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner is open to the public. Tickets are available for purchase through the Box Office of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Call the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077 for more information.

A list of past winners and finalists of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction can be found here.

Calling All Interns!

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PEN/Faulkner’s summer internship applications have just opened, and we’d love to have you join our team. Read below for information on our two open internships, starting in June 2016.

Candidates interested in the Public Programs internship should send a cover letter and CV to Lily Meyer at applications@penfaulkner.org, subject line “Public Programs Internship.” Candidates interested in the Writers in Schools internship should send a cover letter and CV to Greg Langen at applications@penfaulkner.org, subject line “Writers in Schools Internships.” All applications are due by May 1st, 2016.

PEN/Faulkner Public Programs Internship

We are currently seeking an intern to assist in preparation for the 2016-17 PEN/Faulkner Reading Series and for PEN/Faulkner’s annual fundraising Celebration, to be held in September of this year. The intern will work 15-20 hours per week over the course of the summer and will have the ability to design his/her own schedule.

Tasks will include:

  • Research on contemporary authors for upcoming literary events
  • Organization and categorization of PEN/Faulkner archival materials
  • Basic graphic design for both print and online materials
  • Content generation for multiple social media platforms
  • Development research, to include identifying potential underwriters for public events
  • General copywriting & administrative tasks

Necessary skills include:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • An interest in marketing and publicity
  • Ability and drive to work independently
  • A passion for literature
  • A good sense of humor!

All candidates should send a cover letter and CV to Public Programs Coordinator Lily Meyer (applications@penfaulkner.org) with the subject line “Writers in Schools Summer Internship.”

 

Writers in Schools Summer Intern

We are currently seeking an intern to assist in the evaluation of our Writers in Schools program. This long-standing program brings local and visiting writers – and copies of their books – into DC Public and Public Charter High School classrooms for discussion about their work.

Interns will:

  • Assist the Writers in Schools Program Coordinator in the evaluation of this large, expansive arts outreach program
  • Work closely with the Writers in Schools Program Coordinator to analyze program data and draw meaningful conclusions on the strength and vitality of the program
  • Implement new processes for tracking, archiving, and analyzing program and evaluation data
  • Research DC area public and public charter schools to 1) understand the populations we serve and 2) adapt our program to better meet the needs of our local communities.

The internship will involve evaluation assistance for the Writers in Schools Program, as well as extensive research into DC area schools. The intern will create a report at the end of the summer detailing both the effectiveness of last year’s program and the character of our partner schools.

The internship will ideally begin in June and run through August, although start and end dates are flexible. PEN/Faulkner is asking for a total time commitment of 10-20 hours/week, though the intern will have the flexibility to design his or her own schedule.

Applicants should have:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • An interest in education and DC area schools
  • The ability to work independently
  • Knowledge of Google Drive  and Google Drive Applications
  • A sense of humor

All candidates should send a cover letter and CV to Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen (applications@penfaulkner.org) with the subject line “Writers in Schools Summer Internship.”

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

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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.

When:

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.

Where:

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.

 

Congratulations, 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists!

finalist cover collage 2016

Judges Abby Frucht, Molly McCloskey, and Sergio Troncoso have announced their list of finalists for the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The winner will be announced on April 5th, and the 36th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony & Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Congratulations to our finalists:

james_hannaham_ian_douglas-1600x900-c-defaultJames Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods

 

 

 

 

 

Julie IromuanyaJulie Iromuanya, author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor

 

 

 

 

 

Nguyen, Viet Thanh photo credit BeBe JacobsViet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

 

 

 

 

 

tallentElizabeth Tallent, author of Mendocino Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Luis_Alberto_Urrea_by_Nicole_Waite[1]Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Water Museum

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Cocktails with Mitchell S. Jackson and Leslie Jamison

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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.

 

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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.