Audio + Video
Writers Speaking Out on Religious Defamation and Free Speech
Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, Ariel Dorfman, Azar Nafisi, and Kwame Anthony Appiah express their views on religious defamation and free speech in a video statement.
Salman Rushdie: The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
Novelist and PEN World Voices Festival founder Salman Rushdie examines the many faces of censorship in contemporary society and the role of the author within a climate of forced silence and...
Annie Proulx Performs "A Yard of Cloth"
Annie Proulx performs “A Yard of Cloth: The Untold Story of How a Fragment of Probably Hijacked Fabric Saved the Lives of Two Middle-aged Sisters in Northern New England on the Banks of the...
Jeffrey Eugenides Reads from "Trousers" by Robert Walser
Jeffrey Eugenides reads from "Trousers" by Robert Walser at the event A Tribute to Robert Walser, part of the 2008 PEN World Voices Festival.
Vera Williams Reads Grace Paley's Unity Statement
Vera Williams reads The Unity Statement at PEN's 2007 Tribute to Grace Paley. ...
As Iran heads towards elections in June, the government is once again engaging in a campaign of arrests, repression and harassment against the media. This evening explores the political, social, and personal implications of criminalizing the press, the impact of press freedom violations on upcoming elections, and what must be done to counter Iran's censorship regime.
Philip Roth reflects on his lifetime of literary endeavor and his personal involvement in promoting freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe at the 2013 PEN Gala.
Joshua Edwards stopped by the PEN America offices to record an excerpt, entitled "Red Storm Days," from his poem "Agonistes." Complete with hustling, bustling PEN America offices noises.
Focusing on the harrowing events at Guantánamo and on the courage of those in the military and intelligence services who created a written record of those events, this program explored the role that writing can play in witnessing—and confronting—human rights abuses. What goes into the decision to write something down? What happens when you do? Does the act of writing alter events and transform its subject? Does it transform the writer?
Designed to reveal hidden literary and political realities, Haiti In Two Acts plays out in two parts. Act I: An expert delivers remarks about the country. Act II: Local writers respond to questions raised.
The 2013 PEN World Voices Festival kicks off with a stellar line-up of authors, including Najwan Darwish, Joy Harjo, Mikhail Shishkin, Jamaica Kincaid, Earl Lovelace, Ursula Krechel, David Fraktk, A. Igoni Barrett, and Vaddey Ratner. The event is hosted by comedian Baratunde Thurston, formerly ofThe Onion and author of the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black.
On Friday evening of the Festival, Cabinet Editor Sina Najafi introduced speakers Simon Critchley, Barbara Frischmuth, and George Prochnik in the candlelit space of Joe’s Pub. Each writer presented anecdotes that grapple with the issues of forgetting, from a case involving an amnesiac torn between two externally posed identities to Nietzsche’s epistemological view of memory and truth. The discussion included how forgetting effects us both individually and communally.
Celebrated Uruguayan storyteller and chronicler of history’s forgotten, Eduardo Galeano, talks about the intersection of literature and politics. This session will explore the place where the political can become the poetic and where poetry is unafraid of politics.
Award-winning actress Fiona Shaw, writer Colm Tóibín, and director Deborah Warner discuss the process of bringing The Testament of Mary, Tóibín’s adaptation of his 2012 novella, to the Broadway stage.
Why are confessional narratives penned by female writers so often deemed “brave,” “sticky,” or “opportunistic,” when the same material addressed by male writers is called by its name: art? Join Guernica magazine to confess, grieve, or take jabs at the glaring double-standard in how personal writing is consumed, marketed, and reviewed today.
McSweeney’s contributors read excerpts from their translations in McSweeney’s Issue 42—an ambitious experiment that took twelve stories through six phases of translation in a variety of languages, granting each translator a liberal creative license to change the story at will.
Moderated by Mark Nowak
Burma has a long and difficult history. For writers, it is a place where foreign books and the Internet are regarded with suspicion, a place where censorship has been an industry. However, there have been recent glimmers of hope. Two of the country’s most esteemed poets, Zeyar Lynn and Khin Aung Aye, read from their work and discuss the country’s budding literary scene with the editor of Bones Will Crow, the first anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry to be published in the West.
Moderated by Phillip Howze.
Inspired by the sort of originality exemplified by Manhattan Mini Storage, this conversation features cultural strategist and deputy director of the New Museum Karen Wong, a novelist and former advertising industry insider, and the charismatic Archie Gottesman, Co-Owner and Chief Branding Officer of Edison Properties, parent company of Manhattan Mini Storage. Together they explore the boundaries and limitations of marketing and public presence, and explore the exciting and imaginative new ground that can be broken when storytelling and business intersect.
In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court; she assumed her role as Associate Justice on August 8, 2009. Her memoir, My Beloved World, was published this year. In past years, the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture has been delivered by Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman, Umberto Eco, Nawal el Saadawi, Christopher Hitchens, Wole Soyinka, and Salman Rushdie.
In a digital, post-political age, Jacobin, a young political print journal, has managed to thrive. Its founder covers the utility of intellectual journals in the 21st century, the future prospects for the form, and how “hyper-capitalist” publishing tactics have served his radical political ends. Presented in association with The Public Theater.
Co-sponsored by The Public Theater and Jacobin.
Longtime editor Lewis Lapham—who helmed Harper’s for three decades—is also a longtime smoker. He discusses the virtues of smoking and his love of the act, despite its faults and much-maligned reputation. A psychoanalyst joins him onstage. (No, not his!)
Hosted by Katie Halper
The language of friendship.
Great friendships are the building blocks of great art. Acclaimed novelist Norman Manea will converse with longtime friend and famed Italian essayist Claudio Magris. Magris is making a rare visit to New York to promote his new novel, Blindly, narrated by a mysterious pazzo lucido (a lucid madman), who “plays” all of the story’s various characters. Don’t miss what is sure to be a captivating discussion of the book, of life, and what it takes to create great literature.
Noted philosopher and notorious obsessor Simon Critchley will share his fascination with memory theaters. Ever since reading the wonderful Frances Yates at a tender age, he has been completely obsessed with the classical arts of memory and in particular with various crazy attempts to build a memory theatre, a kind of machine that would permit total recall of the entire sum of knowledge.
PEN World Voices Festival teams up with The Poetry Society of America to present this thoughtful, elegantly staged evening of readings and dialogue on the importance of moral courage and bravery in the creation of poetry.