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PEN Out Loud: Boundaries and Borders

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We cross borders in our daily lives: on the subway between boroughs, in conversation, and in writing. The borders we cross define who we are. The boundaries writers and translators traverse in their work gives us a rich and varied literary landscape, and it is vital that they continue to reflect and contribute to the diversity of our world.

The topic of borders and boundaries has been at the forefront of people’s minds, and it is important that these borders remain open, so that ideas, dreams, stories, and people can cross them easily, adding to the richness on either side. 

With this in mind, PEN America, in partnership with the Strand Book Store, will host a conversation with Daniel José Older, author of the New York Times best-selling YA series “Shadowshaper Cypher.” Older introduces protagonists of color into his work in the YA fantasy genre, making the genre not just more inclusive but more realistic. He will be in dialogue with Idra Novey, a translator-turned-novelist who interrogates linguistic boundaries in both her translations of Portuguese works and in her award-winning debut novel, Ways to Disappear. This event will be moderated by Nathan Rostron, Editor of Restless Books. 

Daniel José Older is the New York Times best-selling author of the YA series “Shadowshaper Cypher,” the “Bone Street Rumba” urban fantasy series, and the upcoming Middle Grade sci-fi adventure Flood City. He won the International Latino Book Award and has been nominated for the Kirkus Prize, the Mythopoeic Award, the Locus Award, the Andre Norton Award, and yes, the World Fantasy Award. Shadowshaper was named one of Esquire’s 80 Books Every Person Should Read. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic, and hear his music at danieljoseolder.net and @djolder on Twitter.

Idra Novey is the author of the novel Ways to Disappear, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize, the Brooklyn Eagles Prize, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award.  She is also a translator from Spanish and Portuguese, most recently of Clarice Lispector’s novel The Passion According to G.H. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into 10 languages, and she’s written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Paris Review.

Nathan Rostron is the Editor and Marketing Director of Restless Books, an independent publisher of international literature. Previously, as an online literary editor, he helped to launch Bookish, an innovative book discovery startup. Prior to that, as an editor at Little, Brown and Company, he edited several award winners and New York Times bestsellers. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Nathan holds a BA in English from Pomona College and a Masters in English and Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin.

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