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PEN American Center

April 24, 14

In literature, dystopic narrative has been used hubristically as a way to face one’s own mortality. An aging author, say someone like John Updike, conjures an apocalyptic narrative because he cannot imagine a world without his own consciousness. Read More  »

April 17, 14

I do not believe in trying to keep the work original. If that happens—if such an occurrence is possible—I believe it is necessarily a byproduct of a desire to pursue other questions. Read More  »

April 10, 14

I do not censor my work though I do feel intruded on, and it’s an issue both of privacy and of freedom of expression. Self-censoring and self-surveillance are power’s goons, and the more you have to lose (or think you have to lose) the more afraid...Read More  »

April 1, 14

Writing may be courageous, but reading and speaking about what we read are also courageous acts. The discourse we create when we talk about books is daring just as a book itself may be daring. Read More  »

March 4, 14

What is the responsibility of the writer? To toss out like old rotten salad the yearning for fame and money and get busy fighting for human rights and protesting abuses against the dignity of all human beings. Read More  »

February 18, 14

Writers or rather our works begin the conversations about the difficult, unanswerable subjects of life, and often our works keep the conversations going when everyone else would rather forget. We are the antidote to bread and circuses. Read More  »

February 8, 14

"Born of the bloodfire of struggle for the people. I honor my child with your daughter’s name. May they both be strong forces of love and revolution."Read More  »

February 3, 14

I fear that it sounds too nicey-nice, too passive, which isn’t my intention—writers can and should agitate and expose and upset. But I still think there’s something there in thinking of “weaving communion” through writing. Read More  »

January 20, 14

Writers—by the very nature of what we do—are forced to slow down, and perhaps in so doing, we form a counterweight to the culture of instantaneous reaction. Read More  »

January 7, 14

Writers and storytellers as a whole are curators of our common humanity. This is difficult because we curate not just the good, but also the bad, the totality that makes us beautiful. That and surrendering your ego to the story so it finds its way...Read More  »