PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction Event
PEN is proud to co-sponsor this event as part of Barnes & Noble’s ongoing series “Writers on Writers” on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Algonquin Books. Please join PEN Board Member and Publisher of OR Books John Oakes who will be moderating a conversation on the importance of advocacy through fiction with past winners of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Social EngagedFiction Susan Nussbaum, Naomi Benaron, and Hillary Jordan (all published by Algonquin).
Barnes & Noble
150 East 86th St.
New York City
Naomi Benaron spent her childhood in Boston, where she received her undergraduate degree from MIT. She spent many years as a seismologist and geophysicist before turning to writing. She received her MFA in fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her short story collection Love Letters from a Fat Man won the Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction in 2006, and her stories and poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Spillway Journal, and Prime Number, among others. She lives in Tuscon, where she mentors Afghan women and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.
Hillary Jordan grew up in Texas and Oklahoma. She received her BA in English and political science from Wellesley College and spent fifteen years working as an advertising copywriter before starting to write fiction. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. Her first novel, Mudbound, won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded biennially to a debut novel that addresses issues of social justice, and was the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year for 2008. Jordan’s short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including StoryQuarterly and the Carolina Quarterly. She lives in Tivoli, New York.
Susan Nussbaum is a native Chicagoan who began her career as an actor before moving into playwriting. She is also a longtime disability activist. In 2008, she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” for her work with girls with disabilities. Her plays have been produced at many theaters, including Second City in Chicago. Her play Mushuganism is included in the anthology Staring Back: Disability Experience from the Inside Out, and her play No One As Nasty is included in the anthology Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights. Her first novel, Good Kings Bad Kings, won the inaugural PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction in 2012.
For media inquiries, contact Paul W. Morris at 212.334.1660 x108.