(Los Angeles, CA) – PEN America has announced the lineup for its Fall 2019 LA-based event series “PEN Presents,” which will include conversations with renowned writers and artists, including authors Carmen Maria Machado and Jennine Capó Crucet; photographer B.A. Van Sise; poet José Olivarez; and writers Kirin Khan, Jamie Schaffner, Marci Carrillo, Rocío Carlos, Davin Malasarn, and many more. PEN Presents celebrates the power of words to inform, entertain, stimulate, inspire, and foster a vital literary culture.


Thursday, September 12, 2019 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)

Marking the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth, B.A. Van Sise will present and discuss his new book Children of Grass, a series of portraits of poets shaping America’s cultural landscape. Riffs on pieces by the poets themselves, the images are unforgettable. The work includes portraits of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo joined by horse in an empty cafe, and National Book Award finalist Danez Smith covered in red dust on a crowded bus. Van Sise, a close living relative of Walt Whitman, is an acclaimed photographer who has built a lasting tribute to the creativity flourishing in our country. He will be joined in conversation by Agatha French. Brynn Saito and Derrick C. Brown, two poets featured in the book, will join the celebration to read their poetry.  MORE INFORMATION.


Sunday, September 22, 2019 | 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm | A Love Bizarre

For some LGBTQIA+ people the word “family” can evoke feelings of love and support. For others the word can be slippery and alienating. Many LGBTQIA+ POC folx have chosen to leave home in search of diversity, inclusion, camaraderie, and community. This has created a new landscape in cities and towns across the country: a queer diaspora. Re-Writing the Family will be a night of curated readings exploring the ideas of family with Dare Williams, Kirin Khan, Jamie Schaffner, Marci Carrillo, Rocío Carlos, and Davin Malasarn. How we break down the notions placed upon us as LGBTQIA+ POC folx and how we build and place ourselves within the context of family today. How our families of origin inspire us to bridge-build or to reconfigure our place within that framework. MORE INFORMATION.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)

Poet José Olivarez and author Jennine Capó Crucet discuss their work and the conundrum of finding oneself a stranger in one’s own country. In Citizen Illegal, Olivarez explores Mexican-American narratives with incendiary humor and emotion. And Crucet shares from her wry, fearless essay collection My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education, which examines the limits and contours of the American Dream through her experience as a first generation college student. MORE INFORMATION.


Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Dynasty Typewriter

Carmen Maria Machado has been hailed as one of the most talented young writers of our time. With In the Dream House, she reinvents the memoir with a gut-wrenching tale of love gone wrong, exploring her personal history of psychological abuse while bearing witness to the history and reality of violence in queer relationships. Her dark, fantastical short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. MORE INFORMATION.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America has offices in LA, NY, and D.C. and stages programming across the country.

For more information on the PEN Presents series, please visit:


Elyse Weissman

Jenn Dees
PEN America