About Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded in 1921.

Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA in fiction  from the Stonecoast MFA program at USM.

Clement is the author four novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates and Gun Love. Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Book, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE 2015, an NEA Fellowship and the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award. The novel appeared internationally on many “Best Books of the Year” lists, including The Irish Times. Clement was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her novel Gun Love. She has also published of four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin).  Clement’s books have been translated into 30 languages.

Jennifer Clement wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat on New York City in the early 1980’s and the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Glenn O’Brien in Artforum described this work 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 one of the best books of 2015 in seven different categories.

From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Mexico and her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists. She and her sister, Barbara Sibley, are the founders and directors of the San Miguel Poetry Week. Clement lives in Mexico City and is a member of Mexico’s prestigious “Sistema Nacional de Creadores”.