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.


April 21st: Helen Oyeyemi


Helen Oyeyemi  |  What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets Takoma, in conversation with The New Yorker‘s Margaret Talbot

The last Spring 2016 PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose reading will be Helen Oyeyemi,  who is the author of five novels, including Boy, Snow, Bird; White is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award; and Mr Fox. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. She will be reading from her new story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.

 What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Feb. 21st: Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara  |  A Little Life

In Conversation with Mic’s Madhulikka Sikka

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets Takoma

PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose present Hanya Yanagihara, Man Booker- and National Book Award-shortlisted author of A Little Life and The People in the Trees. This event is free and unticketed.

A Little Life

little lifeWhen four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Feb. 11th: Alexander Chee

Alex_FinalAlexander Chee  |  The Queen of the Night

In Conversation with Hache Carrillo

6:30 PM at Politics & Prose @ Busboys and Poets Brookland

The Politics & Prose and PEN/Faulkner Reading Series returns with Alexander Chee, 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award Judge and author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. This reading is free and unticketed.

The Queen of the Night: 

queen of the nightLilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.

As she mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris. In order to survive, she transformed herself from hippodrome rider to courtesan, from empress’s maid to debut singer, all the while weaving a complicated web of romance, obligation, and political intrigue.

Featuring a cast of characters drawn from history, The Queen of the Night follows Lilliet as she moves ever closer to the truth behind the mysterious opera and the role that could secure her reputation — or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.