How to Sacrifice Your Brother, Even When He Is an Aztec

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“Understand we have never seen an apple, so we are completely free from apples.” In this 2014 video of the first PEN DIY series event, Natalie Diaz breaks down five personal steps to writing about family, and discusses her poetry with Mike Albo.

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Jamaica Kincaid

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“...this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard...” In this video from 2014, Jamaica Kincaid reads her short story "Girl," and speaks about her life and writing career as part of Journeys, the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

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Dunya Mikhail

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“When you write a poem in your language, you write it one time. And when you think in the other language, and try to write a poem in the other language, I feel as if it’s a new poem. They say ‘lost in translation’ but also there are things found in translation.” Dunya Mikhail, author of The Iraqi Nights (New Directions, 2014), translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid, talks about the duality of living with multiple homes and languages, and how her journey from Iran to the United States affected her evolution as a poet. Mikhail occasionally translates her own work.

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Roxane Gay

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"You can't be an activist or a writer or a public figure all day long, and I just have to be myself." Roxane Gay, author of the best-selling essay collection, Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial, 2014), talks about Twitter, adapting her novel, An Untamed State (Grove/Atlantic, 2014), to film, and the unexpected pressures of literary fame at the 2016 AWP conference and book fair in Los Angeles.

The Removals

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"The idea of The Removals being both a physical and a spiritual or psychological removal really haunted me and intrigued me." Writer and director Nicholas Rombes speaks about an old manuscript by a Puritan woman from the 1680s, which inspired his new film, The Removals, the second feature film produced by Two Dollar Radio. Rombes is the author of the novel, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing (Two Dollar Radio, 2014).

Opportunities in Los Angeles

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Cheryl Klein, former director of Poets & Writers’ California Office and Readings/Workshops (West), leads a discussion about resources for writers who live in Los Angeles. Panelists include Lauren Humphrey of 826LA, Rick Lupert of Poetry Super Highway, workshop and reading series leader Tracy Kato-Kirayama, and Terry Wolverton of Writers at Work.

Elizabeth McCracken

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"A novel is a historic reenactment and a short story is a diorama." Elizabeth McCracken discusses the different challenges of writing a novel and a short story, and reads from her latest collection of short stories, Thunderstuck (Dial Press, 2014), at the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. McCracken will deliver the keynote on January 9 at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas.

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Carrie Fountain

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With an introduction by poet Naomi Shihab Nye, Carrie Fountain reads from her books Burn Lake (Penguin, 2010) and Instant Winner (Penguin, 2014) as part of the Lannan Foundation's Poetry Sundays in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fountain and Nye will be panelists at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas on January 9.

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