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.

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

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

 

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Episode 54 – A Tribute to Robert Stone

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Robert Stone wrote eight novels, as well as numerous short stories and a memoir.  In his writing, Stone vividly captured the chaos and elation of the 1960s and the darkness at the heart of American empire-building.  His novel Dog Soldiers won the National Book Award in 1975.  He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer and the PEN/Faulkner award, and served as the chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Board for over 30 years.

On May 2, 2016, we gathered at the Folger Shakespeare Library to celebrate the life and work of this remarkable man.  Authors Madison Smartt Bell, Stephen Goodwin, Lauren Groff, and Tim O’Brien joined us on stage for an evening of reminiscences and readings from his work and that of writers he influenced.

“Numerous sentences from the novels of Robert Stone are permanently lodged in my mind.  I didn’t sit down to memorize them – they’ve stayed with me because Stone… had the power of being memorable.”
– George Packer, The New Yorker

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 53 – Louise Erdrich

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Louise Erdrich Credit Paul Emmel

Louise 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. On May 10th, 2016, Erdrich joined PEN/Faulkner at an event co-hosted by the Library of Congress to read from her novel, LaRose.

“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

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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.


Episode 52 – Edna O’Brien

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Edna O’Brien at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Moderated by PEN/Faulkner Board Director Emeritus Stephen Goodwin

Edna O’Brien has been hailed as the doyenne of Irish literature. 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 joined Stephen Goodwin at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue to discuss her latest novel The Little Red Chairs  her “masterpiece,” says Philip Roth – and to share her singular genius with us.

 

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 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.


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.