News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters writer receives grant from PEN America

Freelance journalist and poet Tiffany Lee Brown received a grant of $1,000 from the PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund this week.

“As a community of literary professionals, PEN America is sympathetic to the struggle many face in making a living as a writer, and the added hardship resulting from the extraordinary ramifications of the COVID-19 epidemic,” the organization wrote in its granting letter.

“With the help of generous supporters, we are glad to be able to offer assistance to a colleague during a difficult time.”

Brown is a freelance writer and contributor to The Nugget Newspaper.

In the wake of World War I, PEN was formed to foster international literary fellowship among writers that would transcend national and ethnic divides. Founding members included Willa Cather, Eugene O’Neill, Robert Frost and Booth Tarkington.

PEN America’s current mission is to “defend free expression in the United States and internationally and to celebrate the power of words to change our world.”

Brown said she was deeply grateful for the grant.

“Like so many parents, I find myself juggling a lot,” she said. “Raising our son, doing school from home now, freelancing for The Nugget, doing work in the community.”

That work includes Tea & Poetry, the Sisters Community Labyrinth Committee, and the nonprofit organization New Oregon Arts & Letters. Last year, she helped revitalize Sisters Farmers Market, rebrand the nonprofit Scalehouse, and teach local children through Kid Made Camp.

Known by many by her byline T. Lee Brown, she said, “I’m also juggling what they call a PPD, permanent partial disability. Throw a pandemic on top of all that and things get pretty darned challenging. Thank you so very much, PEN America!”

The organization’s members have included John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, Sam Shepard, Susan Sontag, Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, James Baldwin, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A PEN membership will be awarded to Brown as part of her grant.


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