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Irish Arts Center's 14th Annual PoetryFest Opens With Special Guests

The Irish Arts Center has been a haven for creative minds since the 1970s and one of its long running events is PoetryFest. The 14th Annual PoetryFest, running December 1 - 3, 2023 at the Irish Arts Centr (726 11th Ave) brings together poets and bards from both sides of the Atlantic.

The opening night festivities on December 1st features special guests Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Lucy Caldwell, Michelle Gallen, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Consul General Helena Nolan, and Dael Orlandersmith with festival poets Sara Berkeley, Tara Bergin, Timothy Donnelly, Elisa Gonzalez, Thomas McCarthy, Mary Noonan, Tom Sleigh, and curator Nick Laird.

After the opening festivities is a weekend of readings. On Sunday, December 3 is Desert Island Poems, in which Thomas McCarthy and Sharon Olds, in conversation with Nick Laird, have each poet choose five poems they would bring to a desert island with them.

To learn more, go to:

Irish Arts Center's 14th Annual PoetryFest
December 1 - 3, 2023

Irish Arts Center
726 11th Avenue
Hell's Kitchen, NYC

The 2023 New York Jewish Book Festival


The 2023 New York Jewish Book Festival will be held from November 9 to the 19 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10280) and virtually. Featuring a slew of literary guests and speakers with panel discussions, the festival includes Mitch Albom, Itamar Rabinovich, Shaul Magid, Ralph Shayne, and many more.

As part of a special presentation Lois Lowry will speak on her classic Number the Stars with a performance of songs from the Number the Stars musical by Sean Hartley from the Kaufman Music Center. A leading authority on Jewish food, Leah Koenig celebrates la cucina Ebraica Romana, Roman Jewish food, within the pages of her new cookbook, Portico: Cooking and Feasting in Rome’s Jewish Kitchen. Donald Margulies and Deborah Dash Moore’s essays illuminate and contextualize Halperin’s brilliant photographs in Kibbitz & Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria, taking us back to the Jewish cafeteria. 

To learn more, go to:

The 2023 New York Jewish Book Festival
November 9 - 19, 2023

Merchant Logo Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280

PEN America World Voices Festival 2023: History, Power & Struggle


Featuring more than 100 writers from 27 countries, the PEN America World Voices Festival is a celebration of writers and performers from around the world making their voices heard against the forces of censorship and oppression. Running May 10 to the 13th the festival includes performances in NYC and the greater Los Angeles area. The opening night festivities on May 11 features An Evening with Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah at the NYU Skirball Center. Known for his work chronicling an Africa on the brink of change while shedding light on the legacies and consequences of European colonialism, Abdulrazak Gurnah will be there along with with Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist Nadifa Mohamed, Windham Campbell Literature Prize winner Aminatta Forna, acclaimed actor Esau Pritchett, Sudanese American musician Alsarah, and others.

PEN Letters: A Centenary Celebration is a 100-year journey through archival letters, notes, and speeches detailing PEN America's history held at Joe’s Pub. Los Angeles events include Writer/Scholar/Target: Online Harassment and the Threat to Free Expression on May 13th and Woman, Life, Freedom: The Role of Art in the Struggle For Human Rights on May 10th.

Speakers across the festival include:

  • Natalie Diaz
  • Jennifer Egan
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah
  • Saidiya Hartman
  • Sheila Heti
  • Andrey Kurkov
  • Eileen Myles
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Gary Shteyngart
  • Leïla Slimani
  • Alejandro Zambra

And many more.

The closing night event is An Evening of Forbidden Books. In response to the recent onslaught of book bans across the country, PEN America is convening a celebration of the freedom to write, read, and think featuring dramatic readings from some of the most “dangerous” texts ever printed, from writers including Toni Morrison, Art Spiegelman, Kurt Vonnegut, and more.

To learn more, go to:

PEN America World Voices Festival
May 10 - 13, 2023

New York City & Los Angeles

Banned Book Week 2022: Defend Books Across America With Special Events


Across the country books are under attack, with book bans sweeping America, and silencing diverse and ground breaking literary voices. As PEN America, celebrating its 100th anniversary defending the freedom to read and write,invites readers, authors, educators, librarians, and everyone who opposes censorship in America to get involved during Banned Books Week 2022 (Sept. 17-24, 2022) with events both in person and online across the US.

At the New York Public Library (476 Fifth Ave New York, NY) on Wednesday, September 21, MSNBC's Ali Velshi presents Restricted Access: an American History of Book Banning. A panel of authors, scholars, and critics reflect on the current climate around book bans and to understand this wave of hostility hitting books across America. Actor André De Shields, one of the stars of the upcoming revival of Death of a Salesman, will open the evening reading a passage from Toni Morrison.

In Florida there’s the panel The Assault on Black Thought: Book Banning in Florida. Running Saturday, September 17 at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL), this in-person conversation will examine the recent censorious threats in Florida and the power of Black literature to spur important cultural conversations.

On September 19 the virtual event Banned Books, Fahrenheit 451, and the Division Censorship Creates. The discussion features PEN Across America, Mount Vernon Public Library, and Banned Book Week Chairs  Alyssa Gómez Lawrence and Debbie Nabubwaya Chambers in an online discussion of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Fahrenheit 451, and the issues the book raises around censorship and free expression. This discussion will examine the history of banned books, our current censorious moment, and the path toward a free and enlightened culture. 

This is a sampling of events happening across America for Banned Book Week, and PEN America invites people to spread the word with #FreeTheBooks!.

To learn more, go to:

Banned Book Week 2022
September 17 - 24, 2022

Various Locations Across America and Streaming Online


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