PEN/Faulkner 2017-2018 Season

We are pleased to share with you our exciting lineup of events for the 2017-2018 season. After thirty extraordinary years with the Folger Shakespeare Library, we are excited to expand our reading series to new locations in the city. Come join our Literary Conversations to hear today’s writers read their work and engage in discourse on today’s issues, with each event individually ticketed (or free to attend) and held at a different venue. We look forward to seeing you! Click here for more information on all events.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Named 2nd Annual Eudora Welty Lecturer

Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will deliver the second annual Eudora Welty Lecture on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. Inspired by Eudora Welty’s lectures on One Writer’s Beginnings, the Eudora Welty Lecture is an original talk on the topic of a writer’s creative origins. The program is presented by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photo by Wani Olatunde


March 28th: World War One and America


World War One and America

Featuring: Elliot Ackerman, Maurice Decaul, Nicole Rizzuto, and Kayla Williams

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017  |  7:00 – 9:00 PM

Hill Center @ the Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20003 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s involvement in World War I.  The PEN/Faulkner Foundation and Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, with support from the Library of America, are hosting a panel on World War I that will explore the impact that the Great War had in shaping 20th century culture and practice, as well as its continuing resonance in today’s contemporary life and literature.

Veteran writers Elliot Ackerman, Maurice Decaul and Kayla Williams, along with Georgetown University professor Nicole Rizzuto, will each read a WWI-era American text and explain its greater significance, to themselves and to the conflict as a whole.  After the reading, our panel will join together in a wide-ranging discussion of the historical and literary legacy of the conflict, with parallels to America’s current conflict in the Middle East.

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Elliot Ackerman has served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. A former White House Fellow, his essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone, among others. He is the author of Green on Blue and, most recently, Dark at the Crossing.


Image result for maurice decaulMaurice Decaul, a former Marine, is a poet, essayist, and playwright, whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, Sierra Magazine, Narrative and others. His poems have been translated into French and Arabic and his theatrical works – Holding it Down, Sleep Song, Dijla Wal Furat: Between the Tigris and the Euphrates – have been produced and performed in New York, Washington, DC, Paris and Antwerp. Decaul is currently working toward his MFA in playwriting at Brown University.

Image result for kayla williams authorKayla Williams, a former sergeant and Arabic linguist in a Military Intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), is the author of Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, a memoir about her experiences negotiating the changing demands on today’s military and Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War, her story of their family’s journey from trauma to healing. Williams is currently the Director of the Center for Women Veterans – a center that advocates for a cultural transformation in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military.

Image result for nicole rizzutoNicole Rizzuto is currently an Associate Professor in the English Department at Georgetown University, specializing in twentieth-century and contemporary British and Anglophone literature, transnational modernism, and critical theory. Her book, Insurgent Testimonies: Witnessing Colonial Trauma in Modern and Anglophone Literature investigates how British, African, and Caribbean fiction and nonfiction raise questions about the ethics and politics of bearing witness to historical traumas that occurred during the second half of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth: World Wars I and II and anti-colonial insurgencies and counter-insurgencies in India, Jamaica, Mexico, and Kenya.

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:

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.