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tv   PEN Literary Gala  CSPAN  July 4, 2018 8:00am-9:51am EDT

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and suddenly realized he is still president. they can't get over it. it's like watching groundhog day as a political film. they come back to it again and again and again. a big part of why you have this extraordinary level of anger. ve.. >> [inaudible conversations]
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>> one voice. it can start a trend. it can build something new. it can change the world. one voice. it's powerful. it's persuasive. it's dangerous point that's why tyrants authoritarians and sensors want to keep some voices from being heard. at pen america we know the power of one voice. and the importance of protecting every voice. because when one voice is silenced, all voices are threatened. we are an organization of writers, just as the free society must protect its rights, writers must safeguard the
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expression of all voices. the voices of the news media, provocative voices on social media, new voices and publishing, creative voices. voices of those who were denied power. voices silenced in prison. at pen america we believe that the freedom p to write is how al voices are heard. we champion great writing. we celebrate emerging writers. we defend those who speak truth to power. we are many voices. but to protect your voice, and every voice, we must speak as one. we are all louder together. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, pen america president, jenifer egan. [applause] thank you. i would like to welcome all of you to the 2018 pen america gala. [applause] the first time i came to this party in 2005 in 2005 it was lg up in office, , the litter is tt i've alwayss fantasized must happen all the time in new york but it took me 18 years of living here before i managed to fumble my weight into one. i'd like to recognize the people whose hard work has brought us together this evening and let's hope our applause to the end. our gala chairs, roxanne donovan, sean kelly and marcus. the committee members, the
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entire team at simon & schuster at our special benefactors, peter and pamela barbee, tony and james goodale and bridget coleman. could all of please stand so we can give you the round of applause and you deserve. [applause] [applause] next, i want to celebrate the wealth of writing talents in this room. would all writers please stand, literary house, guest, trustees, waiters? [applause] [applause]
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thank you for taking time away from your work to be with us. [applause] this gala has a purpose beyond celebration. that is to fuel penn america's work. thank you to everyone here we surpassed all records tonight by bringing in $2.2 million. [applause] i am supremely grateful to tonight's honorees, the legendary stephen king, a man who seems to require no introduction except -- when morgan freeman is here. and carolyn reidy, publisher extraordinaire of mr. king, my lucky self and my brilliant predecessor and president at pen
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america for the past three years who had a child graduate tonight and cannot be here. -- her husband passed away last weekend. he will be deeply missed. the very first pen america dinner was held in april of 1922. it was at the coffeehouse club. just 40 guess likely included eugene o'neill and robert frost who were among the first members. a letter was read aloud by john, the first president of penn international who said we writers are in some sort of -- if we harm the human race the better we know each other, the greater the chance for human happiness in a world not as yet
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to happy. ninety-six years later, the world this not yet as happy. those were the statements that gets at the basic ideas behind the fontina pen. the resented power of literary values could reach into the wider world and improve it. what are the literary values? one is curiosity, a desire to move outside the frame of the individual perspective. literature was invented to let us climb inside the minds and lives of other human beings. the result is empathy. i willingness to share the feelings of another person. that experience provides kinship.
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james baldwin said that you think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world. but then, you read. reading reminds us of the humanity we share across continents and centuries and civilization. as a fiction writer and journalist i am accustomed to the role of spectator, as close to invisible as possible helps me straw. what led me to accept the honor of this position is the belief that literary values, curiosity and kinship are under siege in our culture. pen america's work from fostering literary translation to mentoring and rewarding cars rated writers to the festival is geared toward enabling shared experience between people who are structurally separated. it would be hard to create pen america today, the broad optimism of its vision to
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celebrate and defend the freedoms that make it possible can sound quaint. the range of opinions might prove to disparate together enough of us under one umbrella. but here we are. with our strength in numbers comes the credibility to foster genuine dialogue at moments of crisis and impact. as pen america's presidents i hope to redouble these efforts. i believe that is our best hope of freeing ourselves from the segregated chambers. some of pen america's most exciting work is about campus free speech including topics like safe spaces and political correctness. after releasing a landmark report, we convene public events
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and closed-door sessions at universities bloodied by conflicts over speech and sensitivity. middlebury, berkeley, the university of maryland and uva charlottesville. this included presidents and provost, faculty and students and the testimonials penn has received afterward vouch for the power of genuine conversation to do it speeches and protests can sometimes not. the professor wrote, i appreciate pen america's commitment to including conservatives like me in this conversation. uc berkeley's vice chancellor wrote, we have mounted a little box with a sign that reads, in case of free speech emergency, break glass and call pen america. [applause]
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at our general meeting last march we hosted a panel of diverse perspectives on the me to movement. men, women, 20 and 50 something, the conversation was fiery but always respectful. in washington, d.c. we have opened an office to deal and work with republicans and democrats for credible reporting and fight the spread of fraudulent news. freedom of the press and fact-based reporting. [applause] as an organization, pen america must be curious and open to other points of view. in february we joined forces with the former penn center usa in los angeles which had broken away out of frustration with the domineering provincialism of new york.
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i cannot imagine what they were talking about. i am delighted that marvin is with us tonight along with several other la-based guest. [applause] if they glamour quotient in the room seems higher that mystery is solved. now with members in all 50 states, we are becoming a national organization mobilizing our members and hubs across the midwest, the south in texas. if we are serious about the power of language we cannot do it all from new york. but we can do is heed the words of virginia, one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. so, please enjoy the program.
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and over the course of the night eat, drink, and get to know your neighbor. [applause] >> presenting for penn literary service award, stephen king, please welcome home, morgan freeman. [applause] >> thank you very much. my friend stephen king is a champion of forbidden words. his work over 60 novels have riveted, terrifying, and inspired generations of leaders, have made long train rides, bedtimes and rainy afternoons into unforgettable new words and into the depths of our own fears. but compelling and impossible to
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put down writing and indelible stories is a reason pen america has chosen to honor stephen tonight. stephen king is the embodiment of three threads at the core of pen america. the writer is humanitarian, the writer to bring on scene and on heard human experiences to light. the writer is activist, using the power of the pen to shape the world. his humanitarianism is a boundless generosity and profound humility. her close to the heart of the literary community gathered in this room. nearly 20 years ago stephen was struck by a car during the daily walk. he could not right for about ten
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months. shortly after, a close friend of his saw his career as an audio reader ended after a head injury. jarred by the flight of creative and individuals, stephen founded the haven foundation to assist freelance artist who face personal misfortune. that foundation is a long-standing supporter of the pen america emergency found which assist authors who have fallen on hard times. those who need surgery or therapy, prosthetic limb, help with a rent check, or an attorney's fee for an asylum application. all the assistance is anonymous. this year, thanks to the haven
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foundation, stricken writers got back to work after hurricanes in puerto rico. through his writing, stephen king brings often remote stories and experiences into focus. when i first read the script of shawshank redemption, inspired by stephen king, i said i would be willing to play any part. i did. and i would have. stephen brought compassion into humanity into the forgotten. getting readers and audiences invested in the future. and their freedom. the work touches upon much of what pen america stands for. encouraging the incarcerated to tell their own stories through pen america's prison writing
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program and the penn prison writing award. the only words anywhere that recognize the best writing from the inside. [applause] providing access to books in prison as pen america has done across the country it is a cause embodied in the present library and shawshank. a place of refuge, wonder and spiritual escape. stephen's per trail for the yearning and shawshank was so potent that when they managed to prison break the first few years back one of the first thing they did was ban the words shawshank on social media and internet
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searches. they knew that stephen king's words and story had the force to inspire, a power they were determined to crush. finally, harley lease, the writer is activist. it was among pen america's darkest hours when the advance supreme leader declared -- with firebombings triggered by a dictator, bookstores were fearful for the safety of their employees and customers, so they began pulling the verses from the shelves. stephen king called up the head of a major chain of stores and gave him an ultimatum. you don't sell this, you don't
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sell stephen king. [applause] so the store reversed its course, you cannot let intimidation stop books king said. it's as basic as that. books her life. a fierce opponent of censorship he is outspoken about the dangers of pulling books from the shelves of schools and libraries. in an age of new assaults on the press and truth, stephen has taken his public platform and transformed it into a vehicle of unfiltered dissent. stephen calls it -- it is a
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voice of unfurnished, sometimes harsh truths. some people cannot take it. and would rather not hear the truth. to block stephen king on twitter he came right back to the president declared him locked from seen stephen king's next film. stephen is a champion of what pen america stands for. the freedom to write. thank you, stephen for your boundless contribution to writers, readers and all of us who believe that fear can hold
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you prisoner but hope can set you free. [applause] [applause] we present tonight it is an honor to present this award to my friend, stephen king. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> that is the best damn introduction i've ever had and
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probably the best one i will ever get. before i go on, i have to tell you story. my wife and i live half of the year of florida. we turned 65, it's the law. [laughter] my wife does the big shopping. she is here tonight, she is my inspiration. [applause] she does the big shopping because she does not trust me to do that, but if we are out of toilet paper something she'll send me to the store. i was in publix one day and i came around the corner of the i/o. there is a women, the other way and she was a florida resident, she had the real dark leather skin in the golf hat.
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she looked at me and she said i know who you are. and i said i know who i am too. she said you write those scary books like the pet cemetery book. some people like those books, you can do what you want. but i like uplifting things like that shawshank redemption. [laughter] and i said, i wrote that she said no you didn't. [laughter] anyway is a wonderful award. i want to thank morgan freeman and all of the honorees tonight. those for their bravery and defensive journalism carol from my publishing company for her support and fernand who has edited all of my books. there are a minded me when she
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told me not to mention it but i am surrounded by good women at simon & schuster. [applause] they help me to mind my business. carolyn is one, susan is terrific, they have all helped to make me a better person. [applause] and a better writer. that goes double for my wife. i especially want to thank the young people from marjorie stallman douglas high school. for their fierce advocacy and hard work in the wake of yet another horrific school
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shooting. not even the most recent, they had stood up admirably to this country's gun extremists who thinks the occasional blood sacrifices okay and if fence of the second amendment was written in such a time when they ar 15 and others did not exist. i feel like i'm in's link company here tonight. [applause] i'm just a guy who has loved books since childhood. when the big green bookmobile appeared in my town once or twice a month bringing adventure, mystery, horror, amusement and views of the outside world. i met my wife at a library. take it from me, there is no other basis for books for long
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marriage. [applause] i have been extremely well rewarded. and extremely lucky. someone in the neighborhood of 800,000 books are published in america each year. few men and women can earn a living from their work as writers. that percentage is relatively small. just think for a moment for all the people you see on the streets staring at their phones as they walked down the street with earbuds in their air. then think of how few of them are staring at a page. yet reading is powerful. from my earliest days of working as a high school teacher i've been telling kids that those who read can learn to write and those who can do both will eventually succeed in the world.
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readers learn to be fair and writers like to think. they are the crucial counterweight to those that are close minded and mean-spirited. too many are in positions of power. the intellectual dead zone known as twitter were clear thinking and kindness is often replaced by schoolyard taunts, not to mention bad spelling and bad grammar. [laughter] [applause] my wife and i believe because we are hopeful people i suppose that acting locally creates change globally. so we give mostly in our own state and mostly to small-town libraries. we support free expression because without it the purveyors of fake news, those angry and
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fearful false prophets will be believed too much by too many. we raised three children, two are here tonight, four grandchildren, one is here tonight. weirs them all to read banned books because when the people in charge don't want you to know, that's what you have to find out. [applause] i don't like to talk much about what we do in the way of philanthropy. i don't even like the word. sounds like it has something to do with collecting stance. [laughter] i was raised methodist and two of the difficult commands i grew up with with these, pray in your closet not a new street, let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing. even being here feels not wrong
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exactly, the second time i've had a chance to wear this monkey suit. being here doesn't feel wrong exactly but lacking humility and giving should be humble. at the same time it's important to serve as an example and to same doing this because it is right and important. if you feel the same way they go and do likewise. thank you. [applause] [applause]
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[applause] [applause] , von. >> you were working then received a call when they wanted to meet. after a few hours they did not come out so they went to look for him. -- had been arrested.
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>> [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] >> near the border of bangladesh there had been a huge exodus of minority groups many had been --dash out. and how they have been rounded up by the military and police and then essentially executed. >> we chose this because of
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their courage and digging out the truth about the story about our government and military that they want desperately to suppress. they don't want this known. while they supporter story from all the angles. >> i think it sends a bad signal that doing legitimate journalism is a crime. at reuters, we have trust principles that hold us to integrity. >> [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language]
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[speaking in native language] >> it is moving to me to think about what it is like for them to be imprisoned separated by the families and not able to do their work. >> we believe they should be freed from prison that they have done nothing wrong. it is time for the to be up there reportedly give. >> 38 out of 42 writers and journalists have been freed within an average of 18 months, partly because of the publicity and pressure from the award. >> [speaking in native language]
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[speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] [speaking in native language] >> please welcome margaret atwood. [applause] >> when democracy is in retreat, the first thing authoritarians to silence those who are telling stories. journalists -- had the
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misfortune of working in a country with a long record of suppressing voices. a history that appears to be hard. we may comfort ourselves by believing this kind of persecution happens only in distant countries like myanmar. but the playbook for displaying critical coverage long documented in places like russia, china, and iran was now going viral. the number of journalist gerald worldwide has recently hit an all-time high. many journalists are not even jailed, they are simply murdered. but the united states is not putting reporters in prison, yet, the tactics of the current administration are dangerous.
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they include attacking and discrediting reporters by name, threatening to publish unfavorable coverage. trying to convince the public that reputable used outlets cannot be trusted in branding certain news organizations as the enemies of the american people. the u.s. administration is leading by example. fake news is now international response by strong men and dictators seeking to discredit accurate reporting and valid criticism and destroy democracy in the process. the pen organization in america have traditionally champions persecuted writers in faraway places like myanmar, the home of
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well-known -- that work has become evermore important as democracy have come under attack in many countries around the world. but to the free press right here in the united states and america has redoubled its energies at home. the systematic effort to driver rift between access to knowledge and the citizens of a country is a familiar ring to this novelist. [applause] the result that news organizations have displayed is admirable. they're reporting with gusto and their audiences have grown. according to polls, nearly half
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the country no longer trusts much of what they say are right. these people do not believe some other source of news, instead, they do not know what to believe. authoritarians love the state of affairs. where there is no believe there's likely to be no opposition. when i wrote, the handmade tail, i made sure nothing went into it that did not come from somewhere in history. journalists, historians and other nonfiction writers were my sources. when you publish such a novel, you hope your work will remind people that it can happen here has simply never been true. [applause]
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as they say in the 1965 introduction to the radio version of brave new world, eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, eternal vigilance is the price of human decency. please join pen america into managing the freedom of -- imprisoned in myanmar and also in defending the sanctity of truth and the role of the press right here in the united states. [applause] now, a few words from -- who themselves i have been given to read on their behalf. we are now in the prison just
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because we covered the news. we do not have a desk to write on, the truth about what happens is important for our country. without the truth, we can never solve our country's problems. that goes for every country. so, we would like to as the governments, where is the truth? where is the truth and justice? where is democracy and freedom? why are soldiers found guilty of murder get ten years while we journalists who expose the murder face 14 years in prison? do you think that is fair? we only did our work as reporters. we want the people to understand we never betrayed the country.
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the government can arrest us like this and stop us from being able to write news, but we want to tell them right here that they can never hide the truth. we, journalists, will find the truth even though they are sending us to prison. we are deeply humbled to receive this award. unfortunately, we will not be able to attend the event because we are facing a very long process. we have been here for nearly half a year of we face up to 14 years in prison. we never did anything wrong, we were simply doing our jobs. we never violated any journalist ethics. we will never live hope and will face the proceedings as best we can. we believe the truth will bring justice to us.
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the news need to be written and expressed openly in our country. right now, we cannot report it. we are grateful for this support of pen america, reuters and all those working on our behalf to regain our freedom. the reward is encouragement that we have the backing of people from around the world who love the freedom of the press and democratic values. we desperately miss our families, friends and news friends. your encouragement fortifies our hope. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, accepting this award is the brother and the wife. [applause]
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[applause] [applause] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation]
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, one. >> thank you for helping pen america to draw attention to the unjust imprisonment. our collective voices and action on behalf of writers make a difference. some of you are in this room six years ago when we put the spotlight -- who is serving the first year of an 18 year prison sentence in ethiopia. his crime was being a journalist critical of the government. in february of this year we jubilantly celebrated his release and immediately sought a visa so he could reunite with his wife and son in the united states. weeks later, he was rearrested
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at a private gathering of journalists and bloggers. he was thrown into a cell with 200 other prisoners. once again, we raised our voices and mobilize start efforts and tonight, he is free. better yet, he is with us in this room. [applause] ladies and gentlemen. please welcome the pen freedom to write winner. [applause]
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[applause] >> thank you everyone. let me start by saying thank you to pen america for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of the press the voiceless, not just ethiopia but those of us throughout the world. for the cause of freedom the call of freedom. and at this point i would like to express solidarity with the chinese who despite thousands of years of history, i've yet to taste freedom. i see the chinese people he you two shall be free monday. you to show one day enjoy these freedoms. [applause]
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one of the things i remember is i shall not allow -- to commit a crime for the second time. and indeed they had committed a crime and they were poised to repeat it. but the greater crimes committed were against freedom of expression. more than 2000 years later one would have thought the world would have learned from that mistake and moved on. but this is not been the case.
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we live in the age of paradox. on the one hand we have countries in the first amendment where the freedom of expression has been taken for granted and ethiopia, my country where freedom to express oneself is an elusive idea. in this world of two realities i ask whether those were free have an obligation to those of us who are not free. i say, they do. this application is voluntary and should be phrase this. those who are free should help those who are not free to help for themselves. freedom is universal right. it's for all human see respectful of their differences
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regardless of those differences. i see the solidarity for those of us who are not free. i see our common humanity of our differences. i see her common destiny which is freedom for all humanity. thank you. your support has helped me sustained during difficult times and to your continued support keeps me going. we are fighting the good fight. it must be fought to the very end until all humanity is free from tyranny. god bless you. thank you. [applause] [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, jonathan karp, president of simon & schuster adult publishing. [applause] thank you although doors cannot be here she was kind enough and generous enough to write this introduction which i would like to reach you. it is my privilege, what a special honor for me to introduce carolyn reed, my longtime publisher at simon & schuster. my good friends and this year's pen america publishers on array. the story of the love affair books begins with an image of a girl holding a flashlight under the covers so she could read her favorite book long past the time she is supposed to be asleep. into the early hours of the morning. her love affair deepened in college and graduate school
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where she studied english literature on her way to obtaining a phd in becoming an english professor. it'll did she imagine the focus of her dissertation, the complex relationship between the writer and reader in a victorian novel would come to fruition from the height of the publishing industry where in a personal way she would help thousands of writers across all genres to bridge the magical state between the ask of writing in the active reading. when her husband stephen came to the business school carolyn left the program. she did eventually finish her dissertation. on the strength of her spectacular ability to type 90 words per minute, she secured an entry-level job in publishing where through many areas that
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covered all aspects of the business, she found her calling. carolyn said it was through her study of the victorian classics she came to understand the quality that underpin successful books of all time. her goal was to make each book her company publishes great on its own terms. then to find the largest audience for that book. the evidence indicates she has done that thousands of times over her career. weatherford crowd winning titles or popular books at the moment. relentless curiosity is at the heart of her success. on vacation she brings manuscripts and then calls or sends a note to the author. i can testify that she is the reader of great insight and
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perception. i still remember the conversation about franklin and eleanor rosenfeld. she talked with me about complicated marriage and if she had known them. the greatest tribute or reader can give. her phone call after reading my memo touched it even more personal cord. she zeroed in on the relationship. she was housebound and died when i turned just 15. she pointed out that books and storytelling have become the anchor of my life. when carolyn finish reading team of rivals books are at the center of our conversation. we talked about the hunger for reading that led abraham lincoln scour the countryside to borrow books. when he found a copy of
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shakespeare or king james he was also excited that he cannot eat or sleep. it's the same sense of excitement that carolyn radiates when she helps with the birth of a young writer or savers the continuing success of a veteran author. the publishing industry has experienced profound changes in the decade she has served as president and ceo of simon & schuster. she led the company through the worst a session recession navigated the digital revolution, and the ever increasing competition for readers attention. it makes 800 page books like mine a greater challenge. through it all she has remained optimistic about the future publishing, ever ready to experiment and maintaining a steady hand. thank god carolyn is here is a
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common refrain among the family. as it is for all of us associated with the publishing industry which she has served with dedication for so many years. can the curiosity of a girl holding a flashlight illuminating the book pages under the blankets last a lifetime? caroline is proof that it can. along the way her contagious curiosity and enthusiasm has been conveyed to millions of readers. congratulations to a great publisher and reader. carolyn reading. [applause]
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[applause] [applause] . .
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for his lifetime work and generosity to other artists and authors in his richly deserving of it tonight honor. [applause] and to morgan freeman, a big thanks for taking the time to travel to new york to introduce steven and be part of tonight festivities. i'm truly flattered to accept this or some such a distinguished organization that has for decades fought so violently and effectively for human rights and the right of free speech and expression while promoting literature and the right to publish in so many places around the world. for those of us dedicated to introducing the work of writers
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to the world, it is repugnant when someone, anyone, whether it is the general public, media pundits, local school boards, or the government, tries to stop us from publishing, to dictate who are what we can publish or to limit who can purchase or read our books, even worse, of course our punitive actions against a writer or journalist. and while it is true that the public square has always been a noisy and unruly place, the fact is we're living in a time when the issue of free speech is incredibly fraught. and more complicated than ever as we grapple not only with the political currents of our time, but also with the explosive growth and ubiquity of powerful social media platforms and their effect on human interaction and communication.
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in today's world win arguments or debate are taking place at lightning speed on forums where he wants is either impossible, or worse, not sought, we are too often witness to the crush of high-minded crowd that seek only to affirm their rightness. into many instances we had seated in the effort towards irrational higher-level discourse that could elucidate rather than exacerbate our differences. we have ceased to actual exchange or evaluate ideas and we've watched as discussion is hijacked into what is essentially a phony debate over free speech. the political sideshow that divert us from the original topics. opinions differ and opinions matter, and they have the ability to spark genuine debate about issues and ideas of real
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substance, discussions that can help in the words of pen to quote bridge divisions that hinder our mutual understanding on contentious issues. and i would add that the writers, , journalists and publishers the constitutes of much of pen america and its membership are uniquely positioned to provide the outlets with those discussions can happen and to add critical insight and perspective of the highest level. .. half-baked or fully cooked and yes liberal or conservative as
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many to remain the right of every citizen in our society along with our obligation to protect that beach. [applause] when it comes to the right of unfettered discourse, we can not and should not accept ascension tierney from any side of the political equation. yes, in our country, too many voices are marginalized are powerless and choices on what to publish we have the ability and obligation to help change that. it would be very easy to publish only those voices and perspectives with which we identify her feel comfortable. i have always felt it is our
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responsibility as publishers to step outside our comfort zone and engage with different points of view and publish for the many different audiences that comprise the nation's readership. [applause] in the words of the late and brilliant publisher, peter mayer, quote, trouble -- wait to hear what he says. trouble is the heart of what we do in the sense that worthwhile books trouble our complacency. sharpening our minds and senses. some are even dangerous and they too must be published. end quote. hot my [applause] but for all the noise, the
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bellicose stressor freedoms come in the over politically incorrect speech and the backlash against the politically correct, at the end of the day, we are fortunate to live in a nation where the first amendment has so long protected our right to expression in her presence here tonight signifies we do not take and cannot take this right for granted. as we watched with alarm, the authoritarians, autocrats and strongmen in so many nations around the world were free media and a genuine opposition party often the first casualties. our long-standing arguments about the limits of free speech as fierce and aggravating as they sometimes may be provided a sobering reminder of the plight of many of our colleagues, publishers and freethinkers and so many other nations. we are in a unique position in that we have the freedom and place from which we can advocate
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as pan america seasonally does on behalf of others who are not so fortunate. tonight reuters reporters well known in arrested for exposing the massacre in eroding the village and still incarcerated. they have sacrificed more than most of us can even imagine to speak truth to power. i applaud and thank penn america for its constant efforts to set them in so many others free and to shine a light in those dark corners of the world for truth, honesty and free expression are so brutally suppressed. [applause] in a few moments, we will honor student, activist, samantha fuentes and zion kelly. their courage, bravery and
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determination to speak out in the aftermath of the horrific events in their schools, places that by all rights should be safe harbors and then she worries for learning is a bright shining example and inspiration to us all. thank you again for being here tonight. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, pen america chief executive officer, suzanne nossel. >> so, jenny was saying jenny was saying earlier, pen america's preferred discourse leverages the literature and bias to gather hearts, minds, communities and society. that is what we strive for and what we strive on. but, literary life and life in
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general doesn't always live up to the ideals in the pen charter. it dialogue, reason and compassion can come up short. as a student of marjorie stallman douglass high school in park when reminded us what they are rallying cry, there can come a time to call bs. [applause] now, it is not sending you do lightly, especially not like they spent with my mother here for the first time, somewhere out there. when the government was caught lying, the students of parkland felt compelled to call it out. these students are not allowed. when an organization's lifeblood is truth and facts, we cannot mince words when it comes to falsehood.
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so, when our president professor respects but denigrates the freedom, christ fake news and threatens to withdraw press credentials, we call bs. [applause] and it's not just the government , but an avowed white nationalist gone from free speech to intimidate others into silence. we call bs. what i broadcast conglomerate claims to be objective but then force-feed thinkers a script that describes credible news sources, we call bs. now, some people say are writers organization shouldn't be political. that is a long-standing debate
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of 10. exactly 80 years ago, pen met in prague as the followed the sudan land. french novelist jerome and address skeptics. an association of writers does not wish to engage in politics he said good but we cannot stand idly by when the most a sick individual right or being patent. brock sent a telegram with a single suntans. site and those who did there will fight with you. thomas mann came to madison square garden and proclaimed it was to wait for government to stay in peace. they have lost too many opportunities now it is the people's turn. in the days after their classmates were shot dead, when
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washington d.c. offered only thoughts and prayers come in the students of parkland, florida at code thomas mann. the lawmakers have lost too many opportunities. now it is the people's turn. they sent shockwaves to the self-righteous, embarrass the equivocator's and make politicians pay for their unsavory patronage. they decided to fight ms foretold, and those who dithered join to fight with them. they took the tv studio streets, ,, schoolyards, state houses, the mall in washington and are leading the charge to the voting booth in november. their movement is not about one student, one family, one school or one state. the department joined with all races, ethnicities and ideologies in chicago, detroit and washington d.c.
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one day they sat in calculus class and drama club. i met samantha fuentes this morning and she told me she waitress or waiter high school. they were doodling and daydreaming like any other high school student. but weeks later, and they had scored passage of an historic new florida gun control laws and met the largest student protests in american history. [cheers and applause] is that driving potency lay within each of them, we must ask what potential lies within each of us. at a time when democracy around the world is in retreat in our trusted policy stages are warning of an ascended authoritarianism, it shouldn't take a gunshot to shatter our
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complacency. free expression is not just government constraint. it's a clamor of opinion, visions, insights and demands. a robust marketplace for ideas depends on those willing to raise a ruckus. for free expression amid controversy isn't actually cost free. these young activists have been called paid actors. they've endured accusations, the chair alec and death threats. trolling scare talk fix are especially menacing when they come from the gun lobby. free expression, couric in our area can mean risking their privacy, reputation and even your life for what you believe. please join me in watching a short profile of courage and
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free expression. >> the act and shooter situation situation -- praying and crying and i don't know how we are alive. >> this is like nothing we've ever seen before. [inaudible] [cheers and applause] >> enough is enough. enough is enough. >> i'm here to represent the hundreds of thousands of students who live every day in constant paranoia and fear for their lives to and from school.
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>> take the guns out of the hands of the wrong people and keep them in the reasonable. >> kids need to organize because this is the moment come exactly what happened in the civil rights movement. they're 18, 19, 20 years old. young people who have said we've had enough. >> can you tell me right now you will not accept a single litigation for the nra. [cheers and applause] [applause] >> please welcome to the podium, and james and tony caddell, cameron kasky, zion kelly and samantha fuentes.
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[applause] >> where are the awards? where are the awards? okay. thank you, everybody. we are so honored to give this award to these three terrific people who have shown an amazing courage and leadership following a terrible tragedy. i was lucky enough to spend about an hour with these three wonderful people and i'm in love with all of them. so, congratulations to cameron kasky, zion kelly and samantha fuentes. come get your award. [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you. [applause] >> thank you all. i would like to start out by saying that i should not be standing here. i should not have had to call my friends after the shooting. samantha should not have had to pull shrapnel out of her body and science brother should not have been taken from us. we should not be here tonight. we should not be accepting this award and we should not stand in front of you. but alas, we are here and it is an honor to accept this award from tony and james caddell, the
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freedom of expression on behalf of many, many others, only a few of them are standing here this evening. kirsch implies that a certain course of action is being taken voluntarily. it takes kirsch to speak up, particularly what used to be thought of as the powerless you. maybe to a certain extent that is true and i guess that is the region and has decided to honor the march students at this award. however, the parkland, florida, march for alleged event so near to represent are reacting to exactly one horrific tragic incident that happened in our otherwise safe and cozy suburban environment. there's a very good chance of this type of violence visited itself in our so-called community on a daily basis i frankly stay inside. i would like to mention recently there was a tragedy in santa fe, texas and that we send our love and regard to the families and are ready to be for them as they need us. until then, are allowing them to
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mourn as they need to and encouraging the media to uncover the tragedy but allow them the space they need to heal. we originally said never again knowing well there would be more school shootings before we got the politicians to do anything about it. the houston police chief called about the complacent and are a fun at politicians by name. that is courage. [applause] further, communities all across our country and deadly shootings not just once in a while and daily but literally throughout the day everyday. kids in those communities voluntarily walk out the door to do the things the rest of us take for granted like going to school, the park were just being with friends. they and their parents have little guarantee that they will ever see one another alive again every single day. those examples, ladies and gentlemen are real couric should
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accept this award not only on behalf of myself and my friends, but especially on behalf of the kids and adults whose dinner to the nra and his actions and voices inspire me every single day. please support -- [applause] please support our movement however you can expect many announcements in the near future as to what is next for us. we will grow weary. we will have good days and bad, but it is an standing alongside those who battle the silence every single day double give us the drive encouraged and energy to finish this battle and we will succeed. before i step away, would like to let you all know that i feel honored to be standing alongside these two incredibly courageous people. if i had their courage, and i certainly -- i don't know what to say. been alongside sam and his eye on is one of the greatest honors anyone can receive. thank you.
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[cheers and applause] >> good evening. it is a beautiful day in new york city at the pen america literary gala. i'm so honored that i could be a part of it. i've been alive for a teen years now and being a student of public school, i have learned a whole lot of interesting things, but none of these lessons could have prepared me for a moment like this. education is the very foundation to our success. i am an avid believer that anything can be accomplished with just a few things. motivation and education. unfortunately, we live in a world where most people lack both of these essential elements. nowadays people are chasing dreams that filled their wallets and set up their hearts. nowadays people are so focused on being better than each other instead of uttering each other. people are killing each other.
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the numbers are staggering every day. instead of proposing a solution, we propose profit. it seems that doing the right thing is nothing but a late suggestion. i suppose i won this award because i'm doing the right thing and prioritizing people's lives over guns is a simple and straightforward cause, but in a world that is grown so chaotic and convoluted -- >> we love you. [cheers and applause]
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>> it takes courage to speak out and share your story to the world after experiencing so much trauma. it takes courage for the stone man douglass students to share and uplift many voices in this movement. it takes courage to become a leader. courage is something that all of us on stage have displayed. [applause] thank you. one thing that is very important to me is just telling the truth. i don't feel safe traveling to and from school in my city, washington d.c., because of legal guns. it's important to tell this part of the story also.
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if you want change to happen, we have to be willing to be courageous. i understand this in turn the agony into action. i knew that i had to take a stance because like thousands of students like me, we all live in fear. my brother was shot and killed on september 20th, 2017. he was walking home from a mentoring program that we were involved in. this lot today devastates me and i think back in the knowledge that my brother was a great person and a student leader with big dreams. he did not deserve to die this way. no one does. to honor my brother, i fight for change in his remember in. we all fight for change by expressing ourselves freely and using the power of our voices to speak up, be brave and be courageous. thank you for hearing us. [cheers and applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome margaret atwood back to the stage. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause]
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[cheers and applause] >> i think sometimes i forgot i got shot and i think that rings are easy sometimes and i put it on the back burner and pretend everything is going to be totally fine and you're up on stage for the second time in a row. mama didn't raise no. [applause] i suppose i won this award because i'm doing the right thing and prioritizing people's lives over guns as a simple and straightforward cause, but a world that is grown so chaotic and convoluted i appear to be the bad guy.
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so this is for the good guys. thank you so much for believing in me, but not just me. thank you for believing that together we can correct the moral and fundamental problems in this country. thank you for all the students who walked out of school, those arrested for lobbying change. those who marched alongside me and thank you for the lawmakers finally opening their eyes and wanting to address problems of citizens actually concerned with. thank you, 10 for giving me this award. [cheers and applause] even though everywhere i go i'm like a walking splash zone. welcome to sea world i guess. more than anything i want to thank my mom. he and a mother is no easy task.
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[applause] and being the best mom is almost unachievable, but my mom takes the cake. my mother is an inspiration, my inspiration been a fierce latina woman who doesn't take no for an answer. without all these elements i would not be standing where i'm standing right now without all these elements i would not be standing at all. last but certainly not least and unfortunately so, high school, you were in my heart. i know what it feels like to lose the ones you love right in front of your eyes. the rich, the sad is, the anguish and fear. my arms are open for you, to embrace you, but also to fight for you. stay beautiful and good night.
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[cheers and applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome him margaret atwood back to the stage. [inaudible conversations] >> what a great example of coming back. [cheers and applause] by your mother used to say get out on the horse that threw you. she was a horseback rider. you get back on, you go on. so let that be an example to all
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of you writers who just had a bad review. [applause] thank you all for joining pen america this evening. before we go up to desert, and i want to ask you to take a special action. it says hold up card. family members will bring messages of support back to me and mark. please use the card to your table to write to these brave journalists. tell them that they are not alone. then take a picture. tell them that we salute their
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determination to bring the truth to light, that we will continue to fight until they are out of prison, at home and back to work. this is going to be a hard part for some of you. take a cell c. the thing you do with a felon. if you don't know how to do that, ask somebody younger. take a selfie holding your card and post it to. i'm going to have to explain this. social media. to let everyone know that you are part of pen america suffered to get these journalists the freedom to write. when you are done, as you leave the room, pan americana will collect your card and say they can't to me admire. thank you.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, that concludes this evening's program. please collect your science and take a selfie. we invite you to return to the roosevelt rotunda for dessert and coffee. ♪ [inaudible conversations]
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>> i did a survey of anything. i can make anything happen. because i know, i believe it was christ, anything is possible. you know, so that is how i live my life. in 30 minutes between classes i would sit down and write my thoughts coming in now, how i felt in certain situation in the congo. because i used to get mad at my mom. why are we here? in the middle of nowhere in the jungle.
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she would look at me and smile and say god is with us. so why are we going through this. so many people, you know, already died from this horror, but we are still alive. we can still keep going and we are going to survive because jesus is with us. you can do anything in life if you believe in christ. i wrote my book sophomore, junior and senior year. and i've got to memorize my lines, do plays and stuff. i got very, very skinny.
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because i felt and what i told my friend, you are crazy. i was like yes, i'm going to do to. i'm going to just in, do my best to get a couple degrees. thank god i got it done. two days later he drove to california, which is like a 20 hour drive. i'm going to go to l.a. and become an actor, do my movie.
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you are too tall. six-foot seven, 68 and you have an accent, plus you're black. i was like i do not care. i am from the congo. i'm going to make it happen. it's going to happen for me. i drove 20 hours of first in the book i wrote to dreaming of l.a. and i got there, kind of put my card down, got involved in the party and stuff, going out every night with friends and i kind of lost my way a little bit, lost track of what i can do in l.a.
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and then i was trying to get a job. i had to get an apartment. so i got an apartment and a friend of mine, i don't want to call him by name, but he was very concerned i went to the same college. in l.a. he was staying at my place and i gave him my bed because i felt like he is part is tomorrow and i don't so i slept on my couch. he didn't want to stay in hotel, so i gave him my bed. after he left my place, i asked him can i crash on your couch because i have to get out of my
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apartment. so i had to figure out how to survive. at least can i crash in your garage for a couple months. never heard back from him. he's like delivering food to people's houses and looking at someone in the eye and without stating it. without saying i need tips. i know why those people wanted tips. future food. i am using my car, using my gas and i am bringing your food, so you've got to get me something.
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it was a hostile and tried to survive. i was embarrassed going back to oklahoma for arizona. i give my own. i don't care the struggles that i'm going to get it. this is how i yam. i used to call my god. he was suddenly like $3300, $400. one thing he told me was sometimes in life you got to take one step back to take twos tips for word. so you know, i was like i need to go back for a little while and try to figure out my life and then come back to l.a.
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i flew back. my dad bought me a clean ticket on my way back to oklahoma. a few weeks, i think it was the end of 2014. yes. a few weeks later i got a phone call from a friend. are you in l.a. or oklahoma? -- or has been -- [inaudible] she is a small talent agency in oklahoma. i knew her. she was like there is an addition in l.a. and they are looking for a tall guy who knows how to play basketball, a black man. i was like okay, that sounds like me.
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>> otb recently visited capitol hill to ask members of congress what they are reading this summer. >> a lot of good books to the summer. i love reading all the time. just finished a great book that i recommend. benjamin franklin walked out of the constitutional convention of the challenge of keeping government of the people, by the people and for the people going. also just finished up michael burlingame. advice abraham lincoln two volumes. it is significant, but i've loved it. great detail and abraham lincoln. i'm a big fan being from illinois. i just love stories of what i think is our greatest president. but some of the challenges and also victories he was able to get through. also finished grantor announced ulysses s. grant book. love back, highly recommend
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that. i'm going through washington crossing, the true story of the revolution and we kind of have in our minds the picture of what that crossing will like crossing the delaware and reality was pretty different. i'm enjoying the book as well. and then we have a few others that i am working on. most of them just want to understand history, want to recognize again the great privilege we have of living in this country. those have made it through difficult times in the past and how hopefully i am confident we can make it through challenging times as we go forward as well. >> so, you're probably wondering how this all started.
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i mean, writing a bunny book about the life of a vice president. so charlotte is going to kind of take it from there. yeah, thank you everyone for coming. this is really cool and really special. it is has definitely been a dream of mine since i was very, very small to have a book out, especially a children's book, especially about hamill. and especially with my dad. so it's really fun. so, i wanted to talk a little bit about marlin in general because a lot of people ask how long we've had him, how old he is and when we got him. i just wanted to introduce you to him a little bit since he is not here tonight. he is resting. he had a lot of press interviews this week. so we thought we would let him rest a. but i can't marlin when i was studying in college at depaul university in chicago. i was studying digital cinema
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and english. i wrote a short film. and so, i had a short film and it needed a bunny in it. a lot of people told me to change it. change it to a total or something that's easier to find. i don't know why a turtle would be easier. but i said it really needs to be a bunny. and so, i looked online, looked up at stores and they found him on craigslist. [laughter] yep, he's a craigslist bunny. no price was listed. and so, i asked the owner how much for the bunny. he said make me an offer. and so, it became this godfather joke with my friends. so they said we should name him marlon brando. i said no, we have to name him
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marlon brando. we've got to get back on in. that's how marlin came into her family. she lived with me in college in the warm for a like a week because they aren't actually allowed. but then he lived at home with my parents and then lived in my apartment in college. so now he's really a part of our family and he's one of our pet. >> so then lo and behold we got kind of thrust into this new role after the election. we were moving to d.c. of course we had all of our pets with us on air force two. we weren't going to leave them behind. some staff people were helping a run mode marlin in his cage. i don't know some of you saw that picture because it seems to go viral.
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all of a sudden the bunny was famous. we really didn't understand why he was so famous, but that kind of art of the whole thing going. >> yeah, so right after the anon duration -- actually, i think it was on a non-duration day. we had moved into the naval observatory, which is where marlin lives now. my mom and dad lives there, too. >> we are just an afterthought now. and zero, i thought okay, we should get an instagram handle, just get his name because i think twitter was taken. someone took it when he was all over the news. so they got the instagram handle for marlon for the first post we put up was marlon on the second floor of the naval observatory,
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which is where we lived. he hopped out of his cage and so i put up a post that said marlon's first steps in the naval observatory pick my sisters boyfriend dan actually gets credit for saying he is the bonus. so he is running as the united states. that is his official role. yeah, so that is kind of where it all started and he got really popular on-air. >> is first steps in the naval observatory, that is one thing we wanted to talk about in the book. just to let you know, we keep saying naval observatory, but a lot of people don't know what we are talking about when we say that. in 1974, the first vice president to live in the naval observatory was mondale. actually, rockefeller was the
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first one who could have lived there, but he decided -- he decorated it and entertained thayer. every vice presidents family since the mondale's have lived at the naval observatory. the naval observatory actually is a naval base. there really is a work in observatory right across the street for us. the whole property is 72 acres, but then they're 17 acres that are gated off with the actual house is where we live. the naval observatory is kind of like a victorian home is what it looks like. it's on the cover of the book. it has a big wrap around porch. it is very private rate in the middle of washington d.c. because there are no tours that the naval observatory, so the white house the white house
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there were tours. people come there all the time. the naval observatory is a little more private. now the way the story got started started years and years ago when charlotte first learned to talk because from the moment she learned how to talk, she became a storyteller and she would line up her stuffed animals outside and she would tell them stories and she would regale them with all kinds of adventures. at night, she would tell her little sister stories for her to fall asleep. they shared a room and really almost into high school years, audrey would say tell me a story, charlotte i can't fall asleep. charlotte would start a story on the next night he would continue that story. and so we were surprised when she went to college and majored in digital cinema in english
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because we knew some day this book was going to happen. >> yeah, when people ask us, you know, how did you come up with the idea? we always say it all started with marlon. it really did. it's tarred with the instagram page. we had no idea what anyone even follow this page about her bunny. how many "the hellfire club"? >> he is like 27,000 followers, which is like way more than me. [laughter] >> i don't even have instagram. >> he is very popular. i mean, it makes sense to us. marlon is so adorable and it's fun to take pictures of tiered he has a very real personality. he will follow us around the house when we let them in to get his exercise. he will kind of pose for pictures when we are taking it.
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people ask us all the time how did you get him to do that? how did you get him to sit in front of the fire broke been the book and he just starts doing it. we don't do anything he just starts doing it. it started with the instagram page. we probably should do a children's book on this. it would be really fun and it was always really a partnership. i feel like it was always going to be the watercolor. she's so talented. we decided to do it together. and when we decided to pick a theme for the book, and made a lot of sense to me to make it educational. it wasn't just a story about marlon, but we teach about the role of the president, whoever he or she is. every vice president has various pacific official duties. i didn't really even know about a lot of them.
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so my dad was vice president. that is where we started with that. we wanted to help kids and adults and teachers and educators, you know, have a way to teach about the vice presidency. >> man, you guys are quiet. that never happens. good evening. i am mark updegrove, president and ceo of the lbj foundation. first a little housekeeping. i want to thank our generous sponsors, the ford foundation, the moodyy foundation and tito's homemade vodka.


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