PEN Writers Fund Establishes Fund for Victims of Katrina

In response to Hurricane Katrina the PEN Writers Fund in New York City has earmarked an initial $15,000 to assist professional writers (published or produced), translators, editors, or literary agents who have lost all or part of their homes and livelihoods in the floods that have devastated the region.

To fill out the shortened application form go to pen.org/page.php/prmID/251.

Approval time for grants of up to $500 has been shortened to a few days, a process that usually takes a few months.

The PEN American Center, an association of writers working to advance literature, has organized two ways in which members can respond regarding donations on their website, pen.org.

They are also inviting people to contribute to the PEN Members Speak Out section on their site.

The organization will present “A Night For New Orleans” Oct. 10th at Cooper Union’s Great Hall at 4th and 7th Avenues in New York City at 7 p.m. Bookforum magazine, in conjunction with Cooper Union, will host the evening of readings featuring the brightest literary lights from Louisiana and Mississippi, including Robert Stone, Donna Tartt, Roy Blount, Jr., John Barry, Valerie Martin, Nancy Lemann, and Mike Tidwell.

All proceeds will go to the assistance of writers, artists, and musicians victimized by Katrina.

Tickets are $35 and discount student tickets are available for $15 on the night of the event.

For more information contact Eric Banks at 212-475-4000 #240.

The Voice of Witness (VOW) Series, co-sponsored by McSweeney’s and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will focus a new book on those victimized by Katrina and the government response thereafter. Interviewers of all stripes are welcome. For more information visit the website at mcsweeneys.net.

The PEN Volunteer Bank is always looking for help and you can fill out an application on their website. Since the organization’s inception volunteers have been crucial to the success of its work. As a volunteer you may have a chance to assist PEN in hosting American and international writers, staff sold-out events and receptions, work with people who have a passion for literature, help an imprisoned or persecuted writer, make your voice heard by joining members who speak out on domestic and international free-expression, and promote literature as something that can be created and appreciated, according to staff.

PEN gives several awards, grants, and prizes in various literary contests and programs as well as fellowships, all of which can be found on its website.

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