PEN World Voices

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PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature was launched in 2005. PEN World Voices is a week-long literary festival in New York City. The Festival was founded by Esther Allen and Michael Roberts under then PEN President Salman Rushdie. The Festival was composed of programs, readings, conversations, and debates that showcase international literature and new writers. The Festival is produced by PEN American Center, a nonprofit organization that works to advance literature, promote free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.

World Voices 2005[edit]

The inaugural World Voices Festival was held in New York City from April 18 to April 25, 2005. Participating authors came from 45 different countries. Participants included: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jonathan Ames, Paul Auster, Breyten Breytenbach, Nuruddin Farah, Gish Jen, Ryszard Kapuściński, Khaled Mattawa, Dunya Mikhail, Azar Nafisi, Elif Shafak, Wole Soyinka, Ali Bader and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

Selected 2005 Programs[edit]

  • Conversation: Chico Buarque and Paul Auster
  • Confronting the Worst: Writing and Catastrophe
  • Don Quixote at 400: A Tribute
  • Crossing Borders: Universal Themes in Children's Literature
  • Literature and Power
  • International Noir
  • The Power of the Pen: Does Writing Change Anything?
  • Writers and Iraq
  • Africa and the World: The Writer’s Role
  • Conversation: Hanan al-Shaykh and Salman Rushdie
  • A Believer Magazine Nighttime Event
  • The Post-National Writer
  • The Way We Love Now
  • Voices from the New Europe
  • Czesław Miłosz and the Conscience of Literature

PEN American Center offers audio downloads and photos from select events on their web site. Issue 7 of the PEN American Center literary journal also published selections from the 2005 programs [1].

World Voices 2006[edit]

The second World Voices Festival was held in New York City from April 26 to April 30, 2006. The Festival theme was Faith & Reason. The Festival featured 137 writers from 41 countries in 57 programs. International participants included: Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Gioconda Belli, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, David Grossman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Etgar Keret, Elias Khoury, Henning Mankell, Adam Michnik, Orhan Pamuk, Anne Provoost, Zadie Smith, Dương Thu Hương, Colm Tóibín, Ko Un, and Jeanette Winterson.

Immediately following the 2006 Festival, Bill Moyers hosted a television series on PBS entitled "Faith & Reason," which featured participants from the PEN Festival.

Selected 2006 Programs[edit]

  • Tell That Story Again: Writing Myth Now
  • Honor Killings: When Families Commit Murder to Save Face
  • Faith and Politics in America and Elsewhere
  • Faith & Reason: Writers Speak
  • Exiles in America
  • Translation and Globalization
  • The Limits of Tolerance? Multiculturalism Now
  • Just the Facts: Truth & the Internet
  • 51%: Women Write the World
  • Revolution: A User’s Manual
  • Idols and Insults: Writing, Religion, and Freedom of Expression
  • HOWL for 50 Years
  • Conversation: Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Philip Gourevitch
  • Suitable for Children
  • Conversation: Amartya Sen & Salman Rushdie

PEN American Center offers audio downloads and photos from select events on their web site.

World Voices 2007 - 2011[edit]

In late 2006, Caro Llewellyn was recruited from Australia to be Festival Director and organized the third through seventh Festivals with founder Salman Rushdie. This period saw great growth in the Festival's attendance and reach with guests including Nobel prize-winners such as Nadine Gordimer, Orhan Pamuk, Toni Morrison, and Mario Vargas Llosa. The latter appearing on stage with Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie for an event at the 92Y called The Three Musketeers. During this period, the popular Translation Slam was introduced, which was adapted from a similar event Llewellyn had seen at the Blue Met Festival in Montreal. The PEN Cabaret increased its cache with guests such as Patti Smith, Saul Williams, Bill T Jones, Natalie Merchant, and Sam Shepard. The Festival also extended its reach during this time with satellite events in Chicago, Portland, Albany, Pittsburgh, Miami, L.A. and other cities. An extensive program of year-round events was introduced including the first public appearance of scholar Tariq Ramadan since the State Department's ban on his exclusion from the United States. Ramadan's appearance took place at a sold out event on April 8, 2010, at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City, and was organized in collaboration with the ACLU.

PEN World Voices 2012[edit]

Organized by festival director Laszlo Jakab Orsos and founder Salman Rushdie, PEN World Voice Festival 2012 takes place throughout New York City from April 30 to May 6 and features Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Egan, Tony Kushner, Herta Müller, Paul Auster, Giannina Braschi, Martin Amis, Michael Cunningham, E.L. Doctorow, and Colson Whitehead. Highlights include a performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that pairs the Kronos Quartet with writers Tony Kushner, Marjane Satrapi and Rula Jebreal to explore the boundaries between music and literature. Festival-goers participate on a literary safari, trolling through the halls of Westbeth, a West Village artists' community, where they experience readings by a range of authors, including Elias Khoury, Giannina Braschi and Peter Schneider. Processional Arts Workshop, opened the festival with a procession of giant bibliomorphic puppets, illuminated objects and projections on the High Line at sundown.

External links[edit]