When Lauren Cerand and I founded The PEN Ten, we set out to create a short interview series that was breezy and conversational, but also gave contributors the opportunity to dig into more substantial issues of craft and creative freedom if the urge arose. The questions fluctuate between softballs and deceptively difficult curveballs, leaving some writers temporarily stumped. We decided to keep the questions relatively unchanged to see how the answers would vary from contributor to contributor, over time, and through social, political, and financial ups and downs, knowing that no two responses would ever be the same.

While the questions haven’t changed in two years, the curator has. In January we bid farewell to Lauren and welcomed a new crew, who, in the coming months, will introduce us to the writers, editors, and translators they admire and who inspire them the most. We’ll start the new series on March 3 with writers including Mat Johnson, Dante Micheaux, Sherman Alexie, Laura Lippman, Elif Batuman, and Megan Abbott.

2015 PEN Ten Editors

Randa Jararr, novelist and short story writer, will interview writers who focus on counter-hegemony, censorship, race, gender, and the artist’s role in all the above.



Nicole Sealey, poet and programs director at Cave Canem, will bring The PEN Ten to a distinguished and diverse group of Cave Canem fellows and friends.



Alex Segura, novelist and comic book writer, intends to drag a number of crime and genre-bending fiction authors into the series. 



Natalie Diaz, poet and Mojave language revitalist, will share the PEN Ten with writers whose work is a war-cry and who are also fierce supporters and champions of women writers and writers of color.


Ken Chen, poet and executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, will talk to the poets and novelists of the Asian American counterculture.