Series: The PEN Po‪d‬

As an organization that’s all about the literary community, PEN America knows that the current health crisis is hitting our Members and friends particularly hard. The PEN Pod is meant to provide regular updates and conversations about literature and free expression, and provide an outlet for our in-person events that have been postponed or canceled.

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Subway Book Review with Uli Beutter Cohen; Plus, Tough Questions on Dave Chapelle, Protecting Journalists, and Facebook Revelations

On this episode of The PEN Pod Jared Jackson, PEN America’s manager of literary programs, speaks with Uli Beutter Cohen, creator of Subway Book Review, about her book Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, which collects over 170 interviews from the acclaimed social media movement that highlights books and the people who cherish them….

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The Legacy of Hurricane Maria; Plus, Tough Questions on Campus Speakers, Facebook Whistleblowers, and the Freedom to Write

On this edition of The PEN Pod, we explore the legacy of Hurricane Maria, which is subject of a new book called Mi María: Surviving the Storm. We talk to one of the project’s editors as well as one of its narrators. Then, Tough Questions with PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. This week, we talk…

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Dan O’Brien on Writing, Trauma, and Optimism; Plus, Tough Questions with Suzanne Nossel

On this week’s episode of The PEN Pod, playwright and poet Dan O’Brien is out with a new essay collection and a new collection of poetry, that together weave in accounts of resilience and trauma. Then, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel answers the toughest questions about the past week in free speech. — Send in…

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A BBC Reporter Expelled from Russia: Then, Tough Questions on Book Bans, a Texas Abortion Law, and Supporting Exiles Worldwide

On this week’s episode of The PEN Pod, BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford joins to discuss her abrupt expulsion from Russia, what it means for free expression, and the limits of press freedom in today’s Russia. Then, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel joins for our latest installment of TOUGH QUESTIONS. We dive into Texas’ restrictive new…

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The Promise of a Robust Public Defense; Plus, Dallas’ Literary Community

This week on The PEN Pod, we catch up with attorney and author Jonathan Rapping, author of GIDEON’S PROMISE and leader of an organization charged with harnessing the voices of public defenders to make change. Then, co-leader of PEN America Dallas/Fort Worth Will Evans comes on to talk about the slow re-emergence of in-person literary…

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Renewing New Orleans Through Literature with Maurice Carlos Ruffin; Plus, the War on Terror with Spencer Ackerman

On this week’s extended edition of The PEN Pod, we get the latest on Hurricane Ida and its impact on the New Orleans literary community from author Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Then, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Spencer Ackerman discusses his new book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, and get his…

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Leaving Behind a Deadly Digital Trail in Afghanistan

On this edition of The PEN Pod, we have an in-depth interview with PEN America’s own Matt Bailey, who walks us through the perils facing Afghans who’ve been sharing details of their lives on social media. Many now face serious threats having spent years posting photos and other details of their lives online. Bailey explores…

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Navigating the Debacle in Afghanistan: George Packer and Ayad Akhtar, Plus the Future for Afghan Women

On this special edition of The PEN Pod, we focus on the fall of the US-backed government in Afghanistan. First, we have a conversation between PEN America president Ayad Akhtar and journalist and author George Packer. They discuss the fate of Afghanistan’s writers and translators, reflect on the decline of American power globally, and discuss…

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Attacking Racism Through National Solidarity; Plus, Tough Questions on Belarus, Misinformation, and a Texas Book Ban

Former Navy commander and scholar Theodore Johnson’s new book When the Stars Begin to Fall lays out the case for how a new form of national solidarity modeled on Black solidarity could help us inch ever-closer to racial justice. Then, PEN America’s own Suzanne Nossel takes on the toughest questions this week in free speech,…

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Queering an Epic Tale; Plus, Tough Questions on the Olympics, Facebook Shutting Down Research, and Protest Laws

On this week’s episode, we bring you a second conversation with one of the contributors to DREAMing Out Loud, our annual anthology of writings from migrant writers who took part in our writing workshop series. Then, Suzanne Nossel joins to wade through the tough questions around the Olympics and protesting on the podium, new laws…

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