In the Moment: PEN/Faulkner’s Tribute to Robert Stone at the Folger Shakespeare Library

He wrote books that fueled many of his generation. He was a literary provocateur with a writing style like few others penning works about the Vietnam War’s aftermath, political intrigue, class and privilege, all infused with the beauty of dark humor during days of rage. His writings spanned decades of heated American cultural wars all without softening his point of view.  He was Robert Stone.

Robert Stone (left) and Lauren Groff (right). Photo courtesy of PEN/Faulkner.

Robert Stone (left) and Lauren Groff (right). Photo courtesy of PEN/Faulkner.

His peers at PEN/Faulkner will be paying tribute to Stone at a public-is-invited event at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is an organization that Stone loved dearly. He was the organization’s longtime chair and a founding board member.  Stone sadly passed away in 2015.

The PEN/Faulkner tribute to Stone, a National Book Award recipient and Pulitizer finalist, will be a night of readings and reminiscences from the works of a sharp, politically engaged author. His acclaimed books remain in print, with a number of them gracing my book shelves including A Hall of Mirrors, (1967) Dog Soldiers (1974), Outerbridge Reach (1992) and Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties (2007).  They are a road-map to a particular time in America.

The public is invited to the PEN/Faulkner tribute to Stone. The organization has brought together four renowned authors to read from Stone’s work and speak about their own literary and personal relationships with Stone. The four are Tim O’Brien, Lauren Groff, Stephen Goodwin, and Madison Smartt Bell.  

A taste of Stone is here.

If you are less familiar with the PEN/Faulkner, it promotes the life-long love of literature and reading. It was established in 1980 by writers to honor their peers. Now it is one of the foremost literature prizes in the country. The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction honors annually the best contemporary published works by American writers. It is named for William Faulkner, who used his Nobel Prize funds to create an award for young writers.

A list of previous PEN/Fauklner Award for Fiction winners is here. A Washington Post article about this year’s PEN/Faulkner nominations is here.

More information about the speakers at the Robert Stone tribute is below.

Tim O’Brien is renowned for his writings about the Vietnam War and its aftermath, including Going after Cacciato, In the Lake of the Woods, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, and The Things They Carried, which is considered one of the greatest war novels of the 20th century.

Lauren Groff is the author of The Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories, and Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize. Her third novel, Fates and Furies, was nominated for the National Book Award and was noted as President Barack Obama’s favorite book of 2015.

Stephen Goodwin is the author of three novels, Breaking Her FallThe Blood of Paradise, and Kin. His short fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Sewanee Review, and the Georgia Review. His reviews and essays have appeared in magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post.  For two years, Goodwin directed the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels, including All Souls’ Rising, which was a finalist for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award, and two collections of short stories. He has taught in programs including the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. Since 1984, he has taught at Goucher College. Bell has been a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

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A Tribute to Robert Stone, featuring Tim O’Brien, Lauren Groff, Stephen Goodwin, and Madison Smartt Bell, Monday, May 2, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at The Folger Shakespeare Library – 201 East Capitol Street SE, in Washington, D.C. 20003. Purchase tickets by calling 202-544-7077 or going online.

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