The PEN Pod

The PEN Pod

By PEN America
As an organization that's all about the literary community, PEN America knows that the current health crisis is hitting our Members and friends particularly hard. This limited-run podcast, "The PEN Pod," is meant to provide regular updates and conversations about literature and free expression, and provide an outlet for our in-person events that have been postponed or canceled.

Join the conversation online at pen.org and on our social channels @PENAmerica. Thanks for tuning in.
Where to listen
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Episode 10: Focusing on the Small Things With Fatima Shaik
On this our tenth episode, we catch up with writer Fatima Shaik, who discusses what it was like writing and reporting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and how it might be similar to our current situation. Plus, protest bills working their way through state legislatures, and a message from one of our listeners. 
09:36
March 31, 2020
Episode 9: Reza Aslan on Attacks to Free Expression During the Pandemic
On this episode, writer and TV host Reza Aslan joins to talk about the norm-busting we've seen in recent weeks amid the coronavirus crisis and how he's focusing on work. We also look at proposals for bailing out the local news industry, plus a reading list from alumni of our Emerging Voices fellowship.
12:26
March 30, 2020
BONUS EPISODE: Gregory Pardlo Reads Carrie Fountain's "The Jungle"
In this special bonus episode of the podcast, Pulitzer-winner Gregory Pardlo reads Carrie Fountain's poem "The Jungle."
03:34
March 28, 2020
Episode 8: Poet Gregory Pardlo Gets Reacquainted With Himself
On this episode, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo on getting reacquainted with his favorite books on the craft of writing, and reflecting on his own past. Also, tips on how to stay mentally fit while working from home. And, we want to hear from you. Record a voice message for us! https://anchor.fm/penamerica/message
10:38
March 27, 2020
Episode 7: Mental Health and the Outbreak
As the national debate over balancing the risks of social isolation heats up, author and clinical psychologist Andrew Solomon discusses the consequences for mental health. Then, how student journalists are covering the crisis remotely. And tips on how you can avoid becoming a disinformation disseminator. 
09:27
March 26, 2020
Episode 6: A Legal Victory Against Trump; Remembering Terrence McNally
In this edition, PEN America celebrates a victory against President Trump's efforts to retaliate against the press in our lawsuit. We'll talk what's next. Then, we speak to New York Times theater critic Jesse Green about the life of playwright Terrence McNally.
10:59
March 25, 2020
Episode 5: Disinformation Battle Stations
For this episode of The PEN Pod, we talk to BuzzFeed senior reporter Jane Lytvynenko, who covers disinformation and security. She discusses the major disinformation that's currently circulating about the coronavirus, where it might be coming from, and what we can do to stop sharing false stories. Plus, books about coronavirus are flooding Amazon, but are they accurate? And a bookseller reflects on his role in the literary community.
09:35
March 24, 2020
Episode 4: An Exercise in Hopeful Thinking and Magic
On this episode for Monday, March 23, we talk to Chip Rolley, senior director of literary programs at PEN America and director of the World Voices Festival. He discusses what festivals mean to readers and writers and what might come next for the book world. We also discuss the financial hardships hitting alt-weeklies, and preview a poetry reading list over at PEN.org.
10:38
March 23, 2020
Episode 3: Social Distancing aka Social Solidarity
In this episode for Friday, March 20, a new Pew survey shows that Americans are paying close attention to the coronavirus, but that misinformation is seeping into the dialogue. Then, an interview with award-winning author Alexander Chee for his thoughts on the craft of writing during a period of social distancing. And finally, a poem read by PEN America's own Michelle Franke.
10:26
March 20, 2020
Episode 2: Wash Your Hands, Read a Book, Protect Your Heart
On this edition for Thursday, March 19, 2020, we explore a good news story out of Cuba where an artist and dissident has been released following dozens of arrests. Then, we turn to Jennifer Finney Boylan, New York Times columnist and author of the forthcoming book Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs. Then, journalists covering the coronavirus outbreak and how they're working together.
09:26
March 19, 2020
Episode 1: We're Here!
It's day one for "The PEN POD." On this first edition of our limited-run podcast: a little bit about why we're doing this; an interview with PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel, author of the forthcoming book Dare to Speak; and what should be on your bookshelf this week.
10:36
March 18, 2020
Trailer: Starting March 18, "The PEN Pod"
Starting Wednesday, March 18 the literary and free expression group PEN America will bring you "The PEN Pod." With books tours halted and the literary community facing major difficulties, we want to bring daily insights and reader conversations to you. Tune in starting Wednesday, March 18 for our first episode.
00:45
March 15, 2020