Critical Mass

NBCC Fiction Winner Junot Diaz at PEN Prison Writing Awards November 1

By Jane Ciabattari

Junot Diaz, winner of the National Book Critics Circle award in fiction, will be a featured reader at tha annual prison writing awards event sponsored by NBCC Sandrof award winning PEN American Center.

When: Monday, November 1

Where: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York City

What time: Doors at 6:30, program starts at 7 p.m. With Talib Kweli, Junot Diaz, Lisa Dierbeck, Wahida Clark, Barbara Parsons, Sean Dalpiaz, Wally Lamb, and more

Tickets: $25

PEN Members and special guests will read award-winning selections from the 2010 Prison Writing Contest at PEN American Center's third annual fundraiser and raffle. Proceeds from the event and raffle will help ensure that PEN’s hallmark program continues to promote the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing by providing hundreds of inmates with skilled writing teachers, free Handbooks for Writers in Prison, and a forum where inmates are encouraged to use the written word as a legitimate form of power. With nearly 2.5 million people incarcerated in the United States as of 2007, 70% of whom are non-white, PEN’s Prison Writing Program has never been more essential or relevant. For over 30 years, PEN has accomplished extraordinary work through one-on-one mentorships and an annual writing competition that receives between 20–30 entries per day—including from prisoners on death row. 

The event will also feature a raffle offering the chance to win a variety of prizes, including: • $300 Membership to Le Poisson Rouge • Tickets to The David Letterman Show • Tickets to A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center Theatre • Tickets to Brief Encounter at Roundabout Theatre Company • Cheese 101 Class from Murray’s Cheese • Subscriptions to AGNI, The Paris Review, and Glimmer Train.