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[VIRTUAL] A Conversation with Masha Gessen and Wesley Morris

Headshots of Masha Gessen, Wesley Morris, and Suzanne Nossel

In partnership with The Southern Book Festival and The Mellon Foundation, PEN Across America is excited to host a conversation with Masha Gessen and Wesley Morris. The conversation will be moderated by Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America. 

Gessen and Morris will unpack the role of the artist as an engaged citizen, as well as the importance of free expression and democracy, both journalistically and artistically, during this moment.

Streaming of the event will be available on Wednesday, October 7 at 12pm CT. Unable to attend the session? The Southern Book Festival’s YouTube library will house many of the session immediately following their live run.

Masha Gessen headshotMasha Gessen began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014 and became a staff writer in 2017. Gessen is the author of 11 books, including Surviving Autocracy and The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, which won the National Book Award in 2017. Gessen has written about Russia, autocracy, LGBT rights, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump, among others, for The New York Review of Books and The New York Times.

Wesley Morris headshotWesley Morris is a critic-at-large at The New York Times and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, where he writes about popular culture and hosts the podcast “Still Processing” with Jenna Wortham. For three years, he was a staff writer at Grantland, where he wrote about movies, television, and the role of style in professional sports, and co-hosted the podcast “Do You Like Prince Movies” with Alex Pappademas. Before that, he spent 11 years as a film critic at The Boston Globe, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel is Chief Executive Officer at PEN America and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. Prior to joining PEN America, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. She has served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, leading US engagement in the UN and multilateral institutions on human right issues, and in the Clinton Administration as Deputy to the US Ambassador for UN Management and Reform. Nossel coined the term “Smart Power,” which was the title of a 2004 article she published in Foreign Affairs Magazine and later became the theme of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure in office. She is a featured columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and has published op-eds in The New York Times, Washington Post, and LA Times, as well as scholarly articles in Foreign Affairs, Dissent, and Democracy, among others. Nossel serves on the Board of Directors of the Tides Foundation. She is a former senior fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Nossel is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.