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PEN American Center

The PEN Ten

The PEN Ten is PEN America's biweekly interview series curated by Lauren Cerand.

April 15, 14

Art, as a pursuit, has a place and purpose in the “public” sphere. There are few other known forces in the world that can provide such comfort, solace, provocation, humility, inspiration, arousal, wonder, and self-discovery. 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 18, 14

I was at dinner with my folks the other night, and my dad was telling me about a time I was about five, and we were in another country, and I was gazing up at a giant old building with a checkerboard of lit-up apartments, and how I kept wondering...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 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  »

December 23, 13

At some point recently I realized I mostly read about assassins. Assassins and sex work—in particular, I'm fascinated by the new porn narratives, the way porn has moved on to something like Reality TV—episodic, personal, and usually on the web Read More  »

December 9, 13

The writer might have no responsibilities whatsoever, but the translator has only responsibilities—or at least that’s the popular perception. That’s why we’re always failing—according, again, to the popular perception. It’s not, of course, how I...Read More  »