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We launched the Illustrated PEN in the spring of 2015 with the graphic novel Baddawi, by Chicago-based Palestinian artist and organizer Leila Abdelrazaq. The series aspired to be at the intersection of literature, journalism, and visual storytelling, where images and words come together in an ever-emerging and essential creative form.

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I like depressive because it’s both adjective and noun, a depressive person or just a depressive. A state of being that is fixed, a relation to the world, a point to which one may return. Better than “depressed” which seems temporary, like being “tired” or “hungry.” Better than “suffering from major depression.” The remove at which language keeps the problem. More »

"Still don't know why Trump says "African" *pause* "American."(Same with LGBTQ) As if he's never said those words in that order before!" More »

"The writer is responsible for what he writes. I'm old fashioned and think that the writer is responsible for making us more responsible and keeping words alive so we can reply when we're asked about life. And death. I think the writer must never submit to any ideology, but always keep her independence in order to maintain the power to criticize power." More »

Teju Cole, Rita Dove, Porochista Khakpour, Neil LaBute, Theresa Rebeck, and others from the literary community weigh in on Bob Dylan's Nobel win. More »

Illustrator Bob Eckstein speaks to artists and creators then draws and writes about 75 of the most magical bookstores around the world. More »

Every day my body more angry / Waiting for some part of the mystery / To dispense itself / On the bus, buying groceries / Saying small lies / Soothing them into your narrative / If it’s no one’s fault / The lake has to hold it More »

In 'The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death under Soviet Rule,' award-winnng illustrator Igort details the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist and human rights activist who spoke out against Vladimir Putin and the Second Chechen War, and the Holodomor, the government-sanctioned famine in Ukraine in 1932. More »

Who to call when you get robbed // or hit with a bat. Who else to feed the dogs / of entropy & personal choice, the price // we pay to live decent, which / is to say, far from the stench // of the dead & the dying interlocked, unintelligible / with all that gold in their mouths. More »

"You are naturally paying tribute to the dead and the living, because a poem is the vehicle of reciprocal tension between what came before and what is present." More »


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