PEN New England

PEN new england


“Literature is the best thing humanity has. Poetry is the heart of literature, the highest concentration of everything that is the best in the world and in man. It is the only true food for your soul.”  
Lyudmila Ulitskaya



We are a chapter of PEN American Center, part of a global association of writers celebrating literature and defending free expression. We make our home at the MIT School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences.

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Boston Book Festival: Growing Up in Time of War

  • Emmanuel Parish Hall 15 Newbury Street Boston, MA, 02116 United States (map)

What happens to the psyche of a young person who experiences the chaos and terror of war? Jim Shepard, in The Book of Aron, hailed as a masterpiece and an important contribution to Holocaust literature, describes a young boy enduring deprivation and disease in the Warsaw ghetto. The scene for Chinelo Okparanta’s masterful Under the Udala Trees is Nigeria, whose civil war and identity crisis mirror the struggles of a girl who breaks multiple taboos by falling in love with someone of the same sex but different ethnicity. In Tightrope, the sequel to Simon Mawer’s historical thriller Trapeze, a young woman who came of age while serving as a spy behind enemy lines in WWII Europe returns, much altered, to London and becomes embroiled in the shifting alliances of Cold War realpolitik. The conversation among these outstanding authors will be moderated by Helen Elaine Lee, a professor of comparative media studies at MIT and author of the novel Water Marked.