Watch Literary Conversations: Virus

Looking for a recording of our Literature on Screen: You event? You can watch that here.

We are working on the recordings and transcripts for our Escape Literary Conversation and the virtual 2020 PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony. Please do stay tuned!

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we live our lives. It has also shown us our weak points and failures as a society. VIRUS features authors who, in their work, have explored viruses and pandemics as well as the effects of those on human nature.

Literary powerhouses Stephen King (The Stand), Lauren Beukes (Afterland), and Emma Donoghue (The Pull of the Stars) were joined by moderator and author Daniel H. Pink on October 19, 2020 at 7 pm EDT.

The transcript for this event is available here.


“Another key thing to say about viruses is that even though we talk as if they’re going to affect any human being as much as any other, they don’t at all, and wealth is protective. So viruses are kind of an X-ray of social inequality… You know, a virus might at first seem equalizing, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth.” – Emma Donoghue

“People need to remember that coronavirus is a virus. It doesn’t care about your political party and it doesn’t care what bumper sticker you have on your truck. It doesn’t care whether you think you’re a manly man or whether you need to go to your job. But there are things you can do – you can wear a mask, you can socially distance, you can take reasonable precautions. And if you do those things, the chances are very, very good that this will all be in the rearview mirror.” – Stephen King

“I know it’s boring and overused, but be kind to yourself. We’re living through a very traumatic and weird and lonely, existential, crazy time. So, you don’t have to pile everything on at once. Just be gentle.” – Lauren Beukes

You can purchase a copy of Stephen King’s The Stand, Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars, Lauren Beukes’ Afterland, and Daniel Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing from Politics & Prose.

This year, PEN/Faulkner has decided to adopt a Pay-What-You-Will model for our Literary Conversations to ensure that they remain accessible to all audiences. If you’re able to, please consider making a donation so we can continue to provide high quality literary programs that matter to you.