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PEN American Center

April 15, 14

I’m the bourgeois in our family. That’s chiefly because my parents were never bourgeois. When I was ten, my father walked round with his hair alternately dyed green or blue, and a leather jacket he’d painted himself. Read More  »

April 10, 14

There is a lot of tension around here. In the past few days, I have been under constant surveillance by police vehicles and national security police officers. I have been under heavy supervision.Read More  »

March 10, 14

From outside my guide Amir and I could hear the tock of Ramazan’s weaver’s shuttle, the loud noise of metal slamming against wood, as we approached his studio in Yazd, Iran. The sound mixed with shouts of glee from the schoolyard beside his...Read More  »

February 27, 14

What pulls us forward, and keeps us from feeling like mice in a spinning wheel, are a few important deadlines: One, the distribution of the manuscripts to a committee of judges; two, the return of the committee’s results; and three, the mailing out...Read More  »

February 15, 14

In two weeks’ time, the Olympic games will be over, athletes and foreign guests will depart, and Olympic kitsch will proliferate in many homes in the form of tchotchkes both useless and not. But the damage these games will have done to the lives of...Read More  »

February 14, 14

What country are we living in and in what year, when priests bless half- drunk nationalists that pelt people with rocks while the police look on and then load us into police cars? People break bottles on us. Read More  »

February 14, 14

There wasn’t a single gay man among them. There were grown men next to me, who’d come down with delirium tremens, schizophrenia. That’s when I learned that madness is very contagious. On top of that, the doctors weren’t quite right in the head...Read More  »

February 14, 14

The Russian government has gotten back into the story business. This is bad news for people who like to tell stories of their own, but good news for people who like to tell the same old stories. Read More  »

February 13, 14

Unlike posh private schools, the inner-city public and charter high schools have no money to bring authors; yet they have enthusiastic readers and writers who deserve support. Read More  »

February 8, 14

The Alexandria that Constantine Cavafy knew no longer exists. Nor does the Alexandria that E. M. Forster got to know during the First World War, nor the Alexandria that Lawrence Durrell lived in during the Second World War, nor for that matter does...Read More  »