Freedom Fighter

As an international organization dedicated to the advancement of literature, PEN works to spread literacy in all communities, and to defend freedom of expression. For that reason it is… More

Going Out for a Walk

It is a fact that not once in all my life have I gone out for a walk. I have been taken out for walks; but that is another… More

Blues to Be there

I have a prepared statement, and then there’ll be an improvisation. I hate to do a fully prepared speech in New York, because you never know. This is called… More

The White Problem

In Go Tell It on the Mountain, the young protagonist, John Grimes, stands on a hill in Central Park: “He felt like a long-awaited conqueror, at whose feet flowers… More

On Solid Ground

When I first met the wide smile of James Baldwin face to face, I just burst into tears. In less than a heartbeat, he opened his arms as wide… More

Family Secrets

One of the conditions of being a writer is that all those authors you have loved and learned from, and by necessity have taught yourself to forget, the better… More

Recognitions

I had read no Proust at the time. I was much struck by the freedom from constraint and expectation I suddenly enjoyed. Thereafter, I could complicate my sentences and… More

Bad Behavior

Prose fiction was born Protestant. It is a child of the Enlightenment, and though it has some exotic forebears—romance most nearly, drama and poetry further back—it could only have… More

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