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Welcome to the 2020 digital World Voices Festival, These Truths.

The PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature traditionally brings hundreds of writers from around the world to New York and Los Angeles each spring, drawing audiences of thousands to book talks, readings, and lectures. With those in-person events now impossible to convene, PEN America has curated an ongoing digital version of the Festival that includes a suite of podcasts, videos, interviews, and musical playlists, with live events and other features to be rolled out over the coming weeks.

In an era when the agreed-upon factual basis of our daily news is constantly undermined, there has never been a greater need for us to hear the deeper truths afforded by literature. This virtual edition of America’s premier international literary festival will engage with contested histories and memory, challenge the fabrications of truth served to us on an almost daily basis, and celebrate the beauty and power of storytelling.

What’s New

These Truths: Respecting the Silence with Fernanda Melchor and Yuri Herrera

These Truths: Respecting the Silence with Fernanda Melchor and Yuri Herrera

In this week’s episode of "These Truths," Fernanda Melchor, journalist and author Hurricane Season, recently shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, speaks with Yuri Herrera, whose next book, A Silent Fury: The El Bordo Mine Fire, comes out in June.
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PEN to Paper: Embrace the Incongruity with Adam Falkner

PEN to Paper: Embrace the Incongruity with Adam Falkner

In this week’s lesson, poet and educator Adam Falkner encourages us to embrace the incongruities of life with a writing prompt inspired by Shakespeare.
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Just Press Play with Jennifer Finney Boylan

Just Press Play with Jennifer Finney Boylan

This week’s playlist comes from Jennifer Finney Boylan, the prolific writer whose memoir was the first best-selling work by a transgender American.
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Next Generation Now Virtual Storytime with Isaac Fitzgerald

Next Generation Now Virtual Storytime with Isaac Fitzgerald

Our second Virtual Storytime comes from Isaac Fitzgerald, who shares the empowering and heartwarming tale of a child who feels like a misfit and becomes a pirate instead.
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Just Press Play

Just Press Play with Jennifer Finney Boylan

Just Press Play with Jennifer Finney Boylan

This week’s playlist comes from Jennifer Finney Boylan, the prolific writer whose memoir was the first best-selling work by a transgender American.
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Just Press Play with James Hannaham

Just Press Play with James Hannaham

This week’s playlist comes to us from James Hannaham, winner of the PEN/Faulkner and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards for his novel, Delicious Foods.
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Just Press Play with Mieko Kawakami

Just Press Play with Mieko Kawakami

This week’s “Just Press Play” playlist comes from Mieko Kawakami, author of the novella Breasts and Eggs, which has been recently translated to English.
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Just Press Play with Oksana Zabuzhko

Just Press Play with Oksana Zabuzhko

Just Press Play, where writers you read bring you the music they love. Hear what’s on Ukrainian essayist Oksana Zabuzhko’s playlist.
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Read: The PEN Ten

The PEN Ten: An Interview with Nicole Chung

The PEN Ten: An Interview with Nicole Chung

"Not everyone will understand what they’re trying to do or why it matters, but plenty will. And those are the people you want to write to and for."
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The PEN Ten: An Interview with Danez Smith

The PEN Ten: An Interview with Danez Smith

"The idea that there is only one kind of poet or one kind of poetry worth listening to is long dead."
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The PEN Ten: An Interview with Brandon Taylor

The PEN Ten: An Interview with Brandon Taylor

“Nothing is ever as it appears in fiction, I think. It’s almost always a composite of different truths.”
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The PEN Ten: An Interview with Roya Marsh

The PEN Ten: An Interview with Roya Marsh

“Poetry is a vehicle for delivering truth and possibility. It allows room for the impossible to live.”
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Listen: PEN Podcasts

These Truths: Respecting the Silence with Fernanda Melchor and Yuri Herrera

These Truths: Respecting the Silence with Fernanda Melchor and Yuri Herrera

In this week’s episode of "These Truths," Fernanda Melchor, journalist and author Hurricane Season, recently shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, speaks with Yuri Herrera, whose next book, A Silent Fury: The El Bordo Mine Fire, comes out in June.
Read More
These Truths: DREAMing Out Loud with Álvaro Enrigue

These Truths: DREAMing Out Loud with Álvaro Enrigue

In this week’s episode of our “These Truths” podcast, Álvaro Enrigue, the founder of PEN’s DREAMing Out Loud Program, introduces us to the writing workshop he created to amplify the voices of DREAMers.
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These Truths: Ben Okri’s The Freedom Artist with Anderson Tepper

These Truths: Ben Okri’s The Freedom Artist with Anderson Tepper

In this week’s episode of our “These Truths” podcast, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist and short story writer, Ben Okri speaks with Anderson Tepper, member of the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, about his latest novel, The Freedom Artist.
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These Truths: Fighting Words with Elif Shafak and John Freeman

These Truths: Fighting Words with Elif Shafak and John Freeman

In our first “These Truths” podcast episode, critic and poet John Freeman and novelist Elif Shafak discuss the power of language and storytelling in these challenging times.
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Further Reading

Epic Novels, Sweeping Sagas: An APA Heritage Month Reading List

Epic Novels, Sweeping Sagas: An APA Heritage Month Reading List

This reading list comes to us from Asian American Writers Workshop Executive Director Jafreen Uddin, and is a continuation of our efforts to amplify Asian American voices in literature.
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Asian American Voices: An Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Reading List

Asian American Voices: An Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Reading List

In response to violence directed at individuals of Asian descent, we’ve sought to help amplify contemporary Asian American voices in this reading list.
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Found in Translation: A Reading List Featuring the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Honorees

Found in Translation: A Reading List Featuring the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Honorees

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we invite you to read the collections from the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Longlist.
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PEN World Voices 2020: A Festival Reading List

PEN World Voices 2020: A Festival Reading List

PEN America’s World Voices Festival is proud to share these books, newly and soon-to-be published by authors due to appear at the 2020 World Voices Festival.
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About the PEN World Voices Festival

The PEN World Voices Literary Festival is the premier celebration of international literature in the United States, a landmark event on New York City’s, and now Los Angeles’s, cultural calendar. Each spring, the Festival presents writers from the United States and around the world in a week of cross-cultural exchanges and events—from lively debates that delve into the most pressing issues of our time, to intimate conversations that awaken us to the quiet beauty and power of literature. An engaging program of talks, panels, conversations, and performances draws a vibrant and diverse crowd of socially engaged and intellectually curious New Yorkers and LA audiences, who are eager to be challenged, inspired, and entertained.

PEN America thanks the following sponsors for their support of the 2020 PEN World Voices Festival:

The National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (New York City)
Amazon Literary Partnership
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Acton Family Giving
Poetry Foundation

Join Us

Becoming a PEN America Member today means becoming a supporter of the PEN World Voices Festival. Sign up now as a reader or writer Member and join thousands across the country in defending our freedom of expression.