The PEN/Faulkner Podcast Series
Welcome to the home of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast, which showcases author events from our annual Reading Series, as well as occasional clips from our archives.
Click on the links below to hear or download the podcast series.
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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.
Episode 50 – Celeste Ng & John Wray
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.
Episode 49 – Deborah Eisenberg
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.
Episode 47 – SPARK: The 27th Annual PEN/Faulkner Celebration
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 Caldwell, Susan Coll, Marlon James, T. Geronimo Johnson, Kseniya Melnik, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Kirstin 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.