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PEN Presents Belletrist

Where would writers be without readers? Co-founded by Karah Preiss and Emma Roberts, Belletrist is an online community that celebrates great books and the people who read them. LA-based authors Melissa Broder and Morgan Parker joined Preiss and Roberts for a conversation on writing and reading in Los Angeles, literary community, and their favorite bookstores.

PEN Presents celebrates the power of words to inform, entertain, inspire, and foster a vital literary culture. This evening’s event included a reading and conversation, followed by a book signing and reception.

PEN Presents Belletrist

Melissa Broder is the author of the novel The Pisces (Hogarth/Crown, May 2018) as well as the essay collection So Sad Today (Grand Central) and four collections of poems, including Last Sext (Tin House). She writes the “So Sad Today” column for VICE, the “Beauty and Death” column for Elle.com, and the monthly horoscopes for Lenny Letter.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Morgan Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. In 2019, a third collection of poems, Magical Negro, will be published by Tin House, and a young adult novel will be published by Delacorte Press. Her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020 by One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She is the creator and host of Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel. With Tommy Pico, she co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She lives in Los Angeles.

Karah Preiss is the co-founder of the online reading community Belletrist [pronounced belle uh trist]. In March 2017, Karah launched Belletrist with her friend and creative partner, actress Emma Roberts. Belletrist is a dedicated online community for readers, the books they love, and the authors who write them, with the goal of promoting intellectual curiosity both online and off.

Emma Roberts is an actress and producer known for her roles in films such as We’re The Millers and Nerve, and the television series Scream Queens and American Horror Story. Born in New York, but raised in LA, Emma now splits her time between both, but prefers New Orleans. When she was 5 years old, Emma wrote a wish list, and at the top of it she wished “to own all the books in the world.” As of 2018, the wish has not been granted, but not for a lack of trying. Emma was recently stopped in airport security for carrying too many books on the airplane. Her favorite books are Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan. Despite her career as an actress, she will argue that the books are always better than the movies. You can find her, on her days off, reading short stories out loud to whoever will listen.