Publications

Read Original Literature from PEN America Publications and Programs

PEN America produces a breadth of interviews, poetry, graphic narratives, essays, translation, and book excerpts through its online series, literary awards, Prison Writing Program, World Voices Festival, and other events throughout the year. 

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PEN Poetry Series •  Prison WritingThe PEN Ten InterviewsIllustrated PEN

rain drops on a window

As I Hear the Rain

"She had / Never understood my fascination / With the smell of dirt and fertilizer / Trapped in rows of rotting wooden benches." More

street traffic

Tiny General

"We ate into our stack of chips with all this, bro. We need to make some money. I'm going to need your help." More

spotlights

Outcasts

"They weren’t perfect, but they did their best at parenting. I never doubted they loved me." More

pen on a blank notebook

A King of Infinite Space

"Power comes from influence over life, over movement, which the immovable do not do except with fear and shadows to drive those things away from them." More

A judge's gavel

Parole Reform

"Prisoners must have a mode in which they can challenge the state’s actions in parole decisions. Any system that cannot be held accountable is an unjust system." More

two people walking through a tunnel

Geode

"Randy picked up a geode—a black, gnarled rock, sliced open to reveal a crystalline pocket within—and turned it over in his hands." More

Lake With Buildings In the Background at dusk

Rogers Park: Area 52

"Mankind waited our whole history for something amazing like this to happen, then it does, and in my own back yard no less, and it may as well have… More

Murderers’ Ball

"The Murderers' Ball is what we call the annual fall Lifer's Club banquet. It's mostly said in jest and among ourselves, Lifers that is. It's dark humor shared by… More

close up of $100 bills

A Short Play

"They can lock my body up but they can't cage my mind. I'm still free. Just cause you're locked up don't mean you can't be free." More