An anthology of never-before-published short essays by America's literary greats. Each October at the PEN Gala, well-known authors take the stage of the Folger Shakespeare Library's Theatre to ponder the meaning of such universal mysteries as "obsession," "illusion," "first love," and more. Each author is given only three minutes or less to speak. The results have been unpredictable--clever, confessional, inspiring, hilarious, profound, and all of them entertaining. These essays have been transcribed for the first time, and comprise this unique anthology. Among the authors are: Russell Banks, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Annie Dillard, Gail Godwin, Allan Gurganus, Jane Hamilton, Alice Hoffman, Susan Isaacs, Charles Johnson, William Kennedy, Chang-rae Lee, Larry McMurtry, Sue Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, George Plimpton, Francine Prose, Maurice Sendak, Anita Shreve, Jane Smiley, William Styron, Deborah Tannen, John Edgar Wideman.