The PEN/Faulkner Podcast Series

Welcome to the home of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast, a monthly podcast showcasing author events from our annual Reading Series, as well as occasional clips from our archives.

The PEN/Faulkner Podcast series is made possible by the generous support of, and is co-sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Click on the  links below to hear or download the podcast series.


Click here to subscribe to the PEN/Faulkner Podcast in iTunes.



Episode 38 – Maureen Corrigan & Jackson Bryer at Hill Center

MC and JB 2

Episode 38 of the PEN/Faulkner podcast features writer and NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan discussing her second book, So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, with F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar Jackson Bryer.

Maureen Corrigan is a critic-in-residence at Georgetown University and the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. An award-winning scholar, she has judged multiple prizes, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Her first book, the literary memoir Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading! was published in 2005.

Jackson Bryer is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, where he studied and taught American and modern literature. He has written and edited many books and articles about The Great Gatsby. Dr. Bryer is a PEN/Faulkner Foundation board member.



Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Episode 37 – In This Way Comes Morning: New Writing of the West African Diaspora



The past few years have been a particularly fertile period for American publishing from authors of Nigerian and West African origin. In Episode 37 of the PEN/Faulkner podcast, we brought Okey Ndibe, Chinelo Okparanta, and Taiye Selasi together to read from their work and discuss the breadth of writing about, and within, this community. Writer and PEN/Faulkner board member Dolen Perkins-Valdez moderated.

Okey Ndibe is a novelist, political columnist, and founding editor of the magazine African Commentary. His novels include Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc., and he teaches fiction and African literature at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of the story collection Happiness, Like Water. Born in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria, she is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her stories have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.

Taiye Selasi is the author of the novel Ghana Must Go. Born in London and raised in Massachusetts, she holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University. She lives in Rome, Italy.



Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Episode 36 – Timothy Denevi & Judith Warner at Hill Center


Episode 36 of the podcast brings you an event featuring authors Timothy Denevi & Judith Warner, who read from their work and discuss ongoing research, trends, and attitudes related to the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Novelist and PEN/Faulkner board member Mary Kay Zuravleff moderates.

In Hyper, his thought-provoking examination of ADHD, Timothy Denevi explains the history of the ADHD diagnosis as he reveals his own difficult childhood struggle with the disorder and the subsequent ramifications of his early prescription of Ritalin. Part medical history and part memoir, Hyper is a deeply felt personal story that aims to clarify misconceptions, posit better paths to treatment, and engender empathy for children and families struggling with a difficult behavioral phenomenon.

Judith Warner’s We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication approaches the diagnosis and treatment of childhood disorders from a journalist’s and parent’s perspective. A skillful and timely snapshot of current medical thinking, We’ve Got Issues shows how complex and painful a journey it can be for parents attempting to make the correct healthcare decisions on behalf of their children.


Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Episode 35 – A Storied Future: Emerging Writers of the Virginia Quarterly Review

Since 1925, the storied literary and cultural journal Virginia Quarterly Review has been publishing thought-provoking works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and journalism. Episode 35 of the PEN/Faulkner podcast features a collaborative event between VQR and PEN/Faulkner: “A Storied Future: Emerging Writers of the Virginia Quarterly Review.” Listen here to a moderated conversation between Ann Beattie and four gifted writers – Tope Folarin, Onyinye Ihezukwu, Greg Jackson, and Brendan McKennedy – at the start of their careers.

Ann_Beattie_SQAnn Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike’s Best American Short Stories of the Century. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Key West, Florida, and Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.


Tope_Folarin_SQTope Folarin won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his story “Miracles.” In 2014, he was named to the Africa 39 list of the top African writers under 40. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Oxford University, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. Tope lives in Washington, DC and is currently at work on his first novel.



Onyinye_Ihezukwu_SQOnyinye Ihezukwu was born and raised in Nigeria, where she worked as a journalist and broadcaster. Her work largely explores changing socio-spiritual themes in the urban Nigerian setting. She is a Poe/Faulkner fellow with the MFA program at the University of Virginia, where she received the 2014 Henfield Prize.



Brendan_McKennedy_SQBrendan McKennedy, a former fiction editor at the Greensboro Review, has published short stories in Epoch, PANK, and Night Train. He’s at work on a novel set in the American South during the early years of the recording industry. He lives in North Carolina.




Greg_Jackson_SQGreg Jackson grew up in Boston and coastal Maine. He has been a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center and a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where he won the 2012 Henfield Prize. His fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, and his first book is a story collection entitled Prodigals (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016). He has worked for the literary journal n+1 and with investigative journalist Ron Suskind on several bestselling works of political nonfiction.



Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Episode 34 – The 26th Annual PEN/Faulkner Gala: “Danger”
From Left: Isabel Wilkerson, Ishmael Beah, Benjamin Alire Sáenz (seated), Piper Kerman (seated), Adelle Waldman, David Baldacci (seated), Rachel Pyfrom, Mitchell S. Jackson (seated), Madison Smartt Bell, Calvin Trillin, Elliott Holt (seated), Rachel Pastan, and Daniela Shia-Sevilla.

Episode 34 brings you the 26th anniversary of the PEN/Faulkner Gala, which was held on October 6th, 2014, 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 Danger through original compositions written for the occasion. The event included our high school essay contest awards winner Rachel Pyfrom and Daniela Shia-Sevilla, who read their prize-winning essays from the Folger stage alongside our other guest writers.

The episode features readings by David Baldacci, Ishmael Beah, Madison Smartt BellElliott Holt, Mitchell S. Jackson, Piper Kerman, Rachel Pastan, Rachel Pyfrom, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Daniela Shia-Sevilla, Adelle Waldman, and Isabel Wilkerson. Author and humorist Calvin Trillin served as the Master of Ceremonies.