Form, Fact, and Fiction: A PEN Out Loud Reading List book covers

For this reading list, books from PEN America’s signature event series, PEN Out Loud, have been highlighted and paired with complementary titles selected by staff members from PEN America’s Literary Programs Department. PEN Out Loud is focused on amplifying diverse voices and convening vital conversations with authors, poets, journalists, artists, and activists. This fall, these conversations are in direct response to the very specific moment we’re in culturally and politically. Featuring Yaa Gyasi with Roxane Gay, Ayad Akhtar with Ben Rhodes, Claudia Rankine with Lauren Michele Jackson, and Marilynne Robinson with Alexander Chee, each event this season examines the fabric of our culture with deft insight and illuminates a wide range of themes such as whiteness, faith, interracial love, midwestern and southern culture, depression, and immigration. The books that we’ve chosen to accompany them also grapple with these themes, often pushing conceptual and formal boundaries to examine these important—and ongoing—conversations.