Conversations with Writers presented by PEN America, The Dallas Morning News, and the Dallas Institute

Across America, the consensus opinion is that this is a time for action—for forcefully confronting social and cultural issues that have gone unaddressed for years and decades, even centuries. Yet in the deliberative framework of a democracy, words still are the portal to action. What we read and think and speak about sets the stage for what we do.

In this series, six prominent writers engage in candid conversation through a variety of mediums about the issues that matter most to us in this historical moment and how public discourse, stories, and images influence what we aspire to achieve in the realm of action.

  • Three sessions:
    • Tuesday, September 29, 5:00-6:00 pm, central time;
    • Tuesday, October 6, 6:00-7:00 pm, central time;
    • Third date to be announced.

Complimentary event, but RSVP requested.


Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All

September 29, 5:00-6:00 pm Central Time


CEO of PEN America

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan


American Fiction Writer

In Dare To Speak, Suzanne Nossel, a leading voice in support of free expression, delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country. Centered on practical principles, Nossel’s primer equips readers with the tools needed to speak one’s mind in today’s diverse, digitized, and highly-divided society without resorting to curbs on free expression.

Homeland Elegies

October 6, 6:00-7:00 pm Central Time


Playwright, Novelist, and Screenwriter


Fiction and Non-fiction Writer

A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.

Word and Image

October 27, 6:00-7:00 pm Central Time


Fowzia Karimi is a writer and an illustrator. Her work explores the correspondence on the page between the written and the visual arts. Her illuminated debut novel Above Us the Milky Way was released in April, 2020. She is a recipient of The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and has illustrated The Brick House by Micheline Aharonian Marcom and Vagrants & Uncom-mon Visitors by A. Kendra Greene. She lives in Texas.


A. Kendra Greene is the author and illustrator of The Museum of Whales You Will Never See. Her artist’s books are held in collections as far away as Qatar, but her zines can be found locally in the White Rock Zine Machine. She has been a Fulbright grantee, the Dallas Museum of Art writer in residence, and a Harvard Library Innovation Lab fellow. At present she serves as visiting assistant professor at UT Dallas, associate editor at Southwest Review, and guest artist at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Recent essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Guardian, Zzyzyva, The Common, Atlas Obscura, and The Wall Street Journal.