• Home

PEN America at the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival

2019 Magic City Poetry Festival with PEN America logo

This Spring, PEN America is proud to partner with the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Second Annual Magic City Poetry Festival continues in its mission to strengthen community around poetry and artistic expression. By featuring local nonprofits alongside local artisans and poets, the Festival aims to nurture those connections in a way that strengthens Birmingham’s future. 

PEN America will partner with the Festival to present panels and readings that tackle free expression and advocacy issues in the contemporary world as they affect the literary community, such as a commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, a unique event exploring English-privilege and the immigrant writer experience, and a reading with renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez.

The full schedule of events PEN America is taking part in is below.

2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Kickoff MLK Remembrance

2019 Festival Kickoff: MLK Day of Remembrance
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Spencer Honors House at UAB, 1190 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205

In this kickoff event, the Magic City Book Festival reprises its tradition of commemorating the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an event that combines poetry, history, and social activism. Poets L. Lamar Wilson and Ashley M. Jones will present an evening that remembers Dr. King’s fight for justice and equality while also bringing today’s iterations of the causes he held dear to light.


Magic City Poetry Festival: Community Open Mic Image

Community Open Mic Poetry Readings
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Desert Island Supply Company, 5500 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35212

Throughout April, the Magic City Poetry Festival will be celebrating local voices on the mic! Sign up and bring your poems and your love for the Magic City!


2019 Magic City Poetry Festival: In Translation Header

In Translation: Reading & Discussion
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Alabama School of Fine Arts Lecture Hall, 1800 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203

Join a panel of local poets (Iris Rinke-Hammer, Alina Stefanescu, Desai Ogada, Daniel Blokh, Maria Vargas) as they read in a language other than English. No translations!


Magic City Poetry Festival: Screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez Header

A Screening of “BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez”
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Homewood Public Library, 1721 Oxmoor Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209

Learn more about revolutionary activist and poet, and 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Speaker, Sonia Sanchez via this free screening of the documentary, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez.


2019 Magic City Poetry Festival: Reading with Sonia Sanchez Image

An Evening with Sonia Sanchez
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Health Sciences Building 129, Multipurpose Room, Jefferson State Community College, 4600 Valleydale Road, Birmingham, AL 35242

Join PEN America for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Reading by world renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez. Ms. Sanchez was one of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement, which changed the face of American poetry and still impacts writers today. She will read her work and leave us with the electricity and power of her poetry and her brilliance.

Get the Free Speech News You Need

protesters in face masks carrying old Belarusian national flags

PEN America has a new weekly newsletter, PEN Points, bringing you a digest of the biggest free expression news of the week, plus the analysis and insights you trust from PEN America experts.