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PEN Denver Presents: The [margins.] Literary Conference

[margins.] conference and festival

PEN America Denver is proud to sponsor the [margins.] Literary Conference. Brought to you by The Word, [margins.] was created in 2020, by and for people on the margins, promoting the inclusive representation of experiences in literature for communities who have historically been excluded. The first of its kind, [margins.] is a conference, bookfair, and literary festival. [margins.] brings together writers, storytellers, and wordsmiths at all levels of experience to explore emerging trends in literature and the many approaches to storytelling, visioning and creating, education, inclusion, advocacy, organizing, and building community.

The 2nd [margins.] Conference will be a hybrid conference. It will convene nationally online and curating a local in-person experience for residents of the metro Denver area (occupied Cherokee, Cheyenne, and Ute land) August 5-7, 2022. 

The two PEN America Denver sponsored panels will produce meaningful conversations on the overarching topic of press freedom.

PEN members receive a special rate:
$75 for full registration, use the “Student” ticket option
Special rate for group purchases (3+) from universities, 10% off student rate using code PARTNER10

REGISTER HERE


August 6, 2022
9:00 a.m.–10:05 a.m.
McNichols Civic Center Building, 3A
144 W Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80202

This panel will feature a group of journalists who will share advice on how to create an effective pitch, how to survive in a press room, and how to find the best outlets for your stories. Promoting civic dialogue and the importance of local individuals’ stories, this panel will be instructive to anyone who seeks to bring their stories to the attention of newspaper editors and other journalists. This panel is in partnership with the PEN America Denver Chapter.

PANELISTS

Elaine Tassy is the first Race, Diversity and Equity Reporter at Colorado Public Radio. She began her position in February after working as a newspaper reporter at the Albuquerque Journal, Baltimore Sun, Grand Rapids Press, and Los Angeles Times, and college journalism instructor at schools including Temple University, University of The Bahamas, Temple University and St. Joseph’s University. She is also the author of How The Sun Lost Its Shine: A Newsroom Memoir, about some of the challenges of working in a daily newsroom as a black woman. She has a BA in English from Wesleyan University and an MA in Journalism from Ohio State University.

Lisa Kennedy writes on popular culture, race, and gender among other topics – and has for more than two decades. From 2003 to 2015, she was film critic for the Denver Post. In 2012, she added theater critic to her beat. She’s been published in the New York Times, Essence magazine, American Theatre, Newsday, CNN.com, AARP.com, and Variety. Before becoming a full-time writer she was an editor at the Village Voice, among other publications. She writes the blog “Little Wanderings” on LisaKennedyWriter.com. She is at work on Icarus Ascending, an experimental memoir that unfolds during the AIDS crisis. She currently lives in Denver, CO—the city where she was raised—with her mate, Becky, and Gus & Jax, their awesome substandard poodle and just as awesome rescued terrier mix.


Truth & Consequences

August 6, 2022
3:30-4:40 PM
McNichols Civic Center Building, 3A
144 W Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80202

This panel will address the consequences of truth-telling, in which journalists will share stories around the consequences they’ve faced as a result of their writing, and strategies on what to expect and how to respond when consequences arise in a journalism career. This conversation will highlight the balance between editorial priorities and responsible community reportage. This panel is in partnership with the PEN America Denver Chapter.

PANELISTS

Donna Bryson is a national affairs editor at Reuters, working with reporters across the United States who cover breaking news and produce deeper dives into the news. Before joining Reuters in 2021 she was for two decades a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press. She also has covered local news as a freelancer for such publications as Stars and Stripes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor, and as a staffer on the housing and hunger beat for Colorado Public Radio’s Denverite. She is the author of two nonfiction books, “It’s a Black-White Thing,” about race relations among young South Africans, and “Home of the Brave,” about a small American town’s efforts to help military veterans reintegrate into civilian life.

Tina Griego is a journalist/coach with the Colorado News Collaborative. She has spent most of her career in Colorado as a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and was the first Latina city columnist for a major daily in the state. She has won national recognition for her reporting on immigration, education, and urban poverty, including the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Frank del Olmo Print Journalist of the Year award, and the National Headliner Award. She is also a member of the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for commentary. In October 2019, Griego was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. Grigo lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two kids. She’s a native New Mexican and prefers red over green.

Lisa Kennedy writes on popular culture, race, and gender among other topics – and has for more than two decades. From 2003 to 2015, she was film critic for the Denver Post. In 2012, she added theater critic to her beat. She’s been published in the New York Times, Essence magazine, American Theatre, Newsday, CNN.com, AARP.com, and Variety. Before becoming a full-time writer she was an editor at the Village Voice, among other publications. She writes the blog “Little Wanderings” on LisaKennedyWriter.com. She is at work on Icarus Ascending, an experimental memoir that unfolds during the AIDS crisis. She currently lives in Denver, CO—the city where she was raised—with her mate, Becky, and Gus & Jax, their awesome substandard poodle and just as awesome rescued terrier mix.

Moderator

headshot of William JohnsonWilliam Johnson is the PEN Across America program director at PEN America. A longtime steward in the writing community, Johnson was the editor and publisher of Mary Literary, a literary magazine committed to showcasing work of artistic integrity. He also co-produced Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, the first major anthology for queer poets of color in the United States. In 2011, Johnson began his tenure at Lambda Literary, an organization dedicated to promoting LGBTQ literature. As the deputy director of Lambda Literary, Johnson oversaw many of the organization’s most dynamic programs and public events, including the Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices and Lambda’s web magazine, the Lambda Literary Review.

In 2021, Johnson was awarded The Publishing Triangle’s Leadership Award, an award recognizing contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, librarians, and institutions.

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