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The first ticketed events for the 2011 PEN World Voices Festival are now on sale. Highlights include a special night of readings by Salman Rushdie, Malcolm Gladwell, and many others; programs on WikiLeaks and the revolutions in the Middle East; and a conversation between Vladimir Sorokin and Keith Gessen.

At the Paper Cuts blog of The New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus writes that poetry—particularly lyric poetry—is uniquely suited to describing and documenting catastrophe; like catastrophe, it defies rational order, yet “it consoles, even as it alarms.”

“I suffer from heightism. I’m sure you’re familiar with that.” PEN is launching a series of literary challenges on its Facebook page. Post a short response for a chance to win a free Associate PEN Membership, books, tickets to PEN events, and other great prizes. 

A study on the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act shows that despite the considerable time, money, and resources devoted to the task, there is “no evidence that NCLB improved student achievement in reading.”

Deborah Eisenberg wins the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her book of collected short stories. Listen to Eisenberg reading Robert Walser in the latest PEN Podcast and also catch her at the opening night event of the PEN World Voices Festival on April 25 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.