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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

PSA day

Occasionally people send me notices of this or that, asking me to announce events or competitions or things on this humble blog.  And ordinarily, I reply, “no way!  my blog is devoted exclusively to educational purposes like . . . uh . . . for example . . . no way!” But today I thought I’d make an exception, while I’m gradin’ those papers.

So if you’re in the Los Angeles area this weekend, stop by the CalArts Downtown Center for Innovative Visual, Performing, and Media Arts and check out this experimental writing conference that features Chris Abani, Sesshu Foster, Renee Gladman, Johnny Golding, Shelley Jackson, Joni Jones, Bhanu Kapil, Lewis MacAdams, K. Silem Mohammad, Ishmael Reed, Emily Roysdon, Sarah Schulman, Mady Schutzman, Edwin Torres, and Anne Waldman.

And if you’re nowhere near Los Angeles, you can do something else for someone you love:  you can nominate him or her for the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award!  Anna Kushner, the coordinator of PEN’s Freedom to Write Program, writes to say:

The PEN American Center is the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. Our work here at PEN consists of advancing literature, defending free expression, and fostering international literary fellowship through defending writers in prison or in danger of imprisonment for their work, sponsoring public literary programs and forums on current issues, offering grants and loans to writers facing financial or medical emergencies, and through administering literary and free speech prizes. You may be aware that every year we award the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 prize that honors an individual who has fought to protect freedom of expression as it applies to the written word.

We at PEN are writing to ask you if you would be willing to help us in our efforts to find the next recipient of the PEN/Newman’s Own Award. Our ability to recognize the amazing individuals who fight important First Amendment battles is entirely dependent on the nominations we receive. 

So sure, I’ll help!  Readers, if you know of someone worthy of the PEN/Newman’s Own Award, please nominate him or her today.  (The nomination deadline is December 31, 2006.) The PEN website is right here, and when you visit you can check out all their programs and publications.

Of course, I know some of you are desperate to find out what happened to me during my two-week retreat at the headquarters of the Focus on the Family Ministry.  I’ll be back tomorrow with the surprising re-post! 

Posted by Michael on 10/17 at 10:50 AM
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