Jennifer Clement is the president of PEN International and the first woman to be elected to this post since the organization was founded in 1921. Under her leadership, the groundbreaking PEN International Women’s Manifesto was created.
Clement is the author of the novels A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates, Prayers for the Stolen, and Gun Love, as well as several books of poetry. She also wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat, regarding the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat and New York City in the early 1980s. Glenn O’Brien in Artforum described it as ”Magical. . . . The life of Basquiat . . . is a joyous lightning bolt when it is described in true detail, as it is in Clement’s extraordinary as-told-to poem.” NPR rated it as one of the best books of 2015 in seven different categories.
Clement is the recipient of the Canongate Prize, the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, the Grand prix des lectrices lycéenes de ELLE, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, and her books have twice been a New York Times Editors’ Choice Book. Prayers for the Stolen was both a PEN/Faulkner Prize and Prix Femina finalist.
Gun Love is an Oprah Book Club selection as well as a National Book Award finalist. Time named it one of the top 10 books of 2018. Shearsman Books recently published her translation of Ramón López Velarde’s poem “La Suave Patria” (“The Soft Land”), considered the Mexican national poem and an extraordinary tour de force that changed forever the way that poetry would develop in Mexico.
Clement’s books have been translated into 30 languages. She lives in Mexico City, where she was raised, and is a member of Mexico’s prestigious Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (SNCA). In 1997, she and her sister, Barbara Sibley, founded the San Miguel Poetry Week.
Photo Credit: Omar Meneses
Events with Jennifer Clement
New York University
16 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003