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A well-reviewed first novel can be a blessing and a curse. The authors of two of 2011’s most lauded debut novels will discuss this fate at PEN/Faulkner’s latest reading series. Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding draws on heavy literary traditions to tell a story about college baseball in the Midwest, while Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! describes an entirely different American pastime—alligator wrestling in Florida. Enjoy the books now, before both are turned into HBO series. Read more>>> The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $15. (202) 898-9063. penfaulkner.org. (Caroline Jones)


You may have gorged yourself on barbecue during D.C. Meat Week and probably consumed an nausea-inducing amount of wings and greasy, cheesy appetizers while you watched the Ravens win on Super Bowl Sunday. What better way to cleanse yourself of animal protein than participating in D.C.’s third annual Meat-Free Week? Enjoy weeklong specials on vegetarian and vegan fare at establishments like Souper GirlScience Club, and Wonderland Ballroom (vegan sloppy joes, anyone?) as well as an all-you-can-eat vegan brunch at Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran. For more events, see our post on Meat-Free Week or visit D.C. Vegan. (May Wildman)


Shakespeare’s R&J, about students at an all-male school who read the tragic play in secret, opens tonight at Signature Theatre.  7:30 p.m. at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $55–$60.

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