July 5 – July 11, 2010 Edition PEN READS NOW LIVE ON PEN.ORG

AUTHORLINK NEWS/July 6, 2010–PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, announced today the launch of PEN Reads, an online reading group that will bring readers and writers together to discuss works of literature relevant to PEN’s mission. Colm Tóibín opened the group with his essay on Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star (New Directions), the inaugural book chosen for PEN Reads.

Each book will be discussed for five weeks on the PEN web site, which will feature a series of posts by writers, translators, scholars, and other prominent literary figures. They will discuss the novel and its author and how the book speaks to PEN’s mission to foster support for basic human rights and promote mutual understanding through the shared experience of literature.

Readers are encouraged to comment on each post and participate in a larger dialogue with the discussion’s contributors and with each other by visiting

The initiative was created by PEN’s Membership Committee under the leadership of former Chair Jaime Manrique. He says, “PEN Reads’ choice of The Hour of the Star by the great, and incomparable, Clarice Lispector as its inaugural author reaffirms PEN’s commitment to honor, and help preserve, the literary legacy of the writers of the world whose works matter in a major way.”

The Hour of the Star is currently available from booksellers everywhere.

About PEN American Center

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. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries. PEN American Center, founded a year later, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. Its 3,400 distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and the advancement of human rights of such past members as James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O’Neill, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck. To learn more about PEN American Center, please visit:

PEN welcomes readers and writers from all walks of life to join us in our mission to protect free expression and to celebrate literature. To learn more about Membership, please visit:

For more information, contact Nick Burd at (212) 334-1660 ext. 108.