Literary Takeover Opening Reception

January 25, 2016

Pen and Brush invites you to the opening of our six-week Literary Takeover, a winter festival to celebrate female writers and challenge accepted perceptions of the literary canon. The Takeover stages a transformation of our brand new, state-of-the-art gallery, one that is intended to make visitors reconsider their assumptions about how the written word can be experienced within a physical space. The Takeover will also create an environment where the words, quotes, poems and writing by women – still neglected and even discouraged in today’s cultural landscape – define the canon.

Our Literary Takeover will feature events, panel discussions, readings and limited-run installations alongside both interactive and static presentations of words, ink, paper, books and other tangible components traditionally associated with literature and writing.  Visitors will be encouraged to actively participate in the show, whether it’s contributing their own “definition” of poetry to the walls of Pen and Brush, joining in a unique form of public dialogue with the Poetry Society of New York’s Typewriter Project, or simply settling down in one of the dedicated reading areas and perusing a selection of books by women authors. Other features will include Time, a poem by artist Alice Vlcek that is printed on canvasses and can be reconfigured into multiple iterations, silverpoint poetry illustrations by Pen and Brush author Lauren Amalia Redding, a graffiti tag wall and a week-long installation of the Call Me Ishmael phone (February 22-29) – a unique way for readers to celebrate and experience great works of literature.

“We want to draw attention to the outstanding work of women writers and the challenges they face in achieving parity in the publishing world, while at the same time eschewing a traditional approach to how people engage with literature,” explains Janice Sands, Executive Director of Pen and Brush.  “The ‘Takeover’ is meant to test everything you think you know about the literary canon, including ongoing misconceptions about the quality, quantity and scope of work created by women – but do it in an engaging and interactive way that will resonate with our visitors long after they leave Pen and Brush.”

Throughout the six-week run, there will be readings and Q&A events with Pen and Brush authors and curators including Mina Samuels ("Castle Peak") and Joni Evans (Founding Member and CEO of; former President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster and Publisher at Random House) on February 9, Lauren Amalia Redding ("After Emily Dickenson," "Yo Voy," "Coral Lips Punch Drunk") and Kate Angus (Founding Editor, Augury Books) on February 11. The Literary Takeover will also launch the first Pen and Brush Presents… reading series on March 2 and include co-sponsored events and happenings with groups including Handwritten, Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities, Mental Marginalia, Of Note, the Poetry Society of New York and more. 

The Literary Takeover is another step towards Pen and Brush’s goal of creating a platform for women in the visual and literary arts by showcasing high-quality, professional work and sharing it with editors, agents, publishers, and the public. As part of the October 2015 re-launch, Pen and Brush debuted an ePublishing platform, available on and through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Works are selected by a group of publishing influencers who serve as volunteer readers, choosing poems and literary fiction they believe have merit and are deserving of publication. All of the inaugural Pen and Brush publications can be found here.

“Our goal is to positively impact the careers of professional female writers by creating more opportunities for exposure to the literary and publishing worlds,” notes Sands.  “Events like the Literary Takeover help draw attention both to their work and to this important mission.”

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