"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
An insightful animated short put together by PBS Studios built around an interview given by the late DavidFoster Wallace. Here Wallace, who passed away in 2008, speaks on his early days a budding tennis player and the limitations of having too much ambition for perfection.
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‘An elemental narrative’ is the description we should use for a story that transcends genre. Our understanding of ‘elemental’ relates to what is ‘essential’ or ‘a basic part.’ It means that our elemental narratives always bear the premise that we are writing a ‘basic’ story that touches at the heart of who we are and what we have become. The goal of the writer will be to write a story that is as elemental as a shared humanity, those recognizable qualities that makes us human, and sometimes inhuman.