Saturday, May 04, 2013, 5:00pm
Cooper Union: Frederick P. Rose Auditorium 41 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003
Saturday afternoon's event, moderated by Peter Godwin, took its time in unfolding a series of observations regarding the current state of South African society and the remnants of Apartheid, which "ended" nearly twenty years ago.
In my travels around the global literary scene, the question of a writerly identity has never seemed more precarious, conflicted, and urgent than with writers from Africa. More often than not, it is the writer—not the reader—who is fixated on the question: who or what is an African writer?
Thursday, May 02, 2013, 6:30pm
The New School: Tishman Auditorium 66 West 12th St., New York, NY 10011
On Thursday night we were offered a fascinating glimpse into the renowned writer, Jamaica Kincaid. Keeping within PEN's theme of bravery, the evening's topics ranged widely from the novel, memory, the event, landscape, marriage, writing to the colonial mindset, but I want to focus on one particular thread that ran throughout and perhaps touches on a number of the topics I have just listed: curiosity.
"We have a Cold War on the Russian soul," said Mikhail Shishkin. Lines are drawn, barricades are up. On one side are the nationalists and isolationists who proclaim Russia to be the center of the world and a power to be reckoned with. On the other side of the barricade are the internationalists who see affinity with Europe and a greater, global cosmopolitan attitude. These starkly drawn political lines extend into cultural spheres, bifurcating the Russian arts and cultural scene.
Shahrnush Parsipur’s writing career began in 1974 with the publication of her first novel, The Dog and the Long Winter. She's been in trouble with Iranian authorities ever since. Today, with more than twenty novels, short story collections, and translations under her belt, Parsipur lives in California. While she has always written in Persian and her fiction has always been about Iran, Parsipur does not consider herself to be a writer in exile.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 1:00pm
The Library at The Public Theater 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
Bravery comes in many forms. As Salman Rushdie said to me in an interview, and confirmed at the opening night of PEN World Voices Festival of Internatioanl Literature, the artist standing up to repression is just one kind of bravery. Another is the courage to create a new work of art and overcome technical or emotional challenges. And still, there are other forms of fearlessness and gallantry.
Monday, April 29, 2013, 7:00pm
The Great Hall: Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003
In advance of PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, I sat down with the scholar and translator Susan Bernofsky to discuss the art and technique of translating literature. PEN's Translation Committee, which Bernofsky chairs, has arranged for three translation related events at this year's festival.
On April 15th, I gave a lecture at NYPL's South Court Auditorium entitled, "Hamlet: Through the Looking Glass", the beginnings of part one of a much larger three part project that will be completed in 2015, at the New York Public Library's Shakespeare Week (April 15 - April 20, 2013).
Part 1: Lecture
Part 2: Q&A