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2023 Pride Picnic with Next Gen PEN America

NOW INDOORS: Due to forecasted rain we have relocated from Central Park to our office in Soho located at 588 Broadway Suite #303. 

Next Gen PEN America Pride Picnic

Next Gen PEN America is inviting students and free expression advocates of all ages to our 2023 Pride Picnic in Central Park! Join us as we celebrate LGBTQIA+ free expression in defiance of the censorship and banning of Queer stories and voices happening in the United States and around the world. Next Gen PEN America’s 2023 Pride Picnic will take place in the PEN America office in Soho located at 588 Broadway due to forecasted rain.

We invite you to come read some banned books with us, meet other LGBTQIA+ free expression advocates from the New York City area, and enjoy free food, refreshments, activities, music, and swag!





4:30 pm – Program Welcome with Activities, Snacks, and Refreshments

5:00 pm – Drag Queen Story Half-Hour featuring Sierra La Puerta

5:30 pm – Dinner and Panel featuring Achiro P. Olwoch and Sierra La Puerta, moderated by Nicholas Perez

6:15 pm – Final Performance featuring Sierra La Puerta

*subject to change




Achiro Patricia OlwochAchiro Patricia Olwoch hails from Gulu, in Northern Uganda and is an award-winning writer, playwright, and filmmaker. She is currently based in New York. Achiro is presently in the process of completing her late father’s manuscripts that he left behind after his death in 1994 and readying them to share with the rest of the world. This alongside her first novel ‘Sex or Slave’ set in 1950s Uganda during colonialism. She is an award-winning writer, director, and producer after winning numerous awards for her ‘Coffee Shop’ tv series as creator and writer and ‘Yat Madit’ as head writer, and her short films; ‘The Surrogate’, ‘The Mineral Basket’ and ‘Maraya Ni’. She is presently in post-production working on a feature documentary ‘My Prison Diary’ due for release in 2022 and she has three feature scripts – ‘The General’s Amnesty’, ‘The Uprising’, and ‘The Surrogate Play’ – in development. Achiro has been writing ever since she left the airline industry in 2007. She has worked as a radio scriptwriter, a playwright, and a film and television scriptwriter alongside writing her books. She has also worked as a sub-editor for the Ugandan lifestyle magazine ‘African Woman’ and also later as the Editorial Director for a lifestyle magazine that she started in Malawi called ‘The African Dzuwa’ meaning The African Sun. She has mentored a couple of emerging writers in the performing arts during annual residential workshops by the Kampala International Theatre Festival for the past two years.

sierra la puerta headshotSierra La Puerta is a drag icon and legend. She loves to sparkle, shine, and bring smiles to the people she meets. Ciera La Puerta in Spanish means close the door, but Sierra opens the door to have important conversations with all who have an open mind. Follow her @sierralapuertanyc on all platforms