In lower than three weeks, PEN America will current the 2019 World Voices Pageant (Might 06-12). It’s our 15th anniversary and we couldn’t be extra excited in regards to the stellar line-up of writers, artists, and public figures who can be becoming a member of us, and our topical (and pressing) theme, “Open Secrets and techniques.” We’ll discover certainly one of at present’s hottest points: the dissolving boundary between the general public and the non-public in our literature, our politics, and our day by day lives.
All of us are conscious of how the genres of literary memoir and private testimony have flourished lately, partly because of a tradition extra attuned than ever to share all the pieces (on-line and off line), but in addition as a consequence of an elevated willingness by writers to share, and attempt to make sense of, profoundly private experiences.
We’ve witnessed vital social change within the #MeToo motion, and disclosures of kid sexual abuse inside non secular establishments. On the identical time, we’re more and more apprehensive at how the digital revolution can be utilized in opposition to us, with governments and companies harvesting our non-public information, overseas governments manipulating our democratic processes, and each facet of our habits seemingly capable of be tracked and manipulated.
This yr’s Pageant explores the profoundly complicated and difficult points concerned on this dissolution of the general public and the non-public in additional than 70 occasions of debate, public tackle, poetry, readings, efficiency, and testimony.
We’ll showcase literary examples of disclosure in periods comparable to It Occurred to Me, wherein seven writers from completely different genres inform extremely private tales of trauma, loss, or dislocation. In The Price of an Training best-selling memoirist Tara Westover (Educated) talks to novelist Min Jin Lee (Pachinko) about her terribly harrowing childhood in a survivalist household in Idaho. In Secrets and techniques and Lives writers Dani Shapiro (The Inheritance) and Bridgett M. Davis (The World In keeping with Fannie Davis) inform New York Journal books editor Boris Kachka in regards to the extraordinary secrets and techniques that outlined their households. And The Legal guidelines of Need sees writers Masha Gessen, Edouard Louis, and Carolin Emcke group up with choreographer Invoice T. Jones to discover how, over time, our wishes typically evolve past easy issues of orientation to extra multifaceted longings.
Our exploration of the double-edged sword of the digital revolution will embody political discussions comparable to Siri, The place’s My Democracy, which brings collectively The Guardian’s acclaimed investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr (who broke the Cambridge Analytica-Fb scandal), Sue Halpern, and internationally acknowledged privateness knowledgeable Danielle Citron to look at the utopian potential in opposition to the customarily dystopian actuality of the interplay of know-how and politics. In Orwell’s China, I’ve scored a bucket-list alternative to talk with acclaimed novelist Ma Jian, right here for the launch of his newest novel China Dream, and Leta Hong Fincher, writer of Betraying Large Brother, to look at China’s rising surveillance tradition. The Large Chill: Creativity within the Period of Information Mining can be a well timed examination of how digital surveillance impacts artistic expression with Recode Decode host Kara Swisher, novelists Dave Eggers and H.M. Naqvi, and college students Ifeoma White-Thorpe and Iman Abdul, whereas in Surveillance Capitalism, Human Autonomy and You, Shoshana Zuboff (writer of the defining textual content The Age of Surveillance Capitalism) will group up with author Douglass Rushkoff (Crew Human) to discover the boundaries to free will and autonomy when each transfer you make is monitored and monetized.
The Pageant will even honor the extraordinary second in China, 30 years in the past in June, when college students led a mass rebellion at Tiananmen Sq. and throughout China in favor of democracy solely to have it brutally repressed by the navy. Rise Up: Tiananmen’s Legacy of Freedom and Democracy can be an uplifting night of commemoration, readings, music, and political inspiration that can be held in New York’s iconic Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a spot of worship and of sanctuary for these in want. The night will deliver collectively Chinese language dissidents who have been at Tiananmen in 1989 with Rev. William Barber, chief of the revival of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor Individuals’s Marketing campaign, and probably the best orator alive at present.
And that’s just the start. We couldn’t be prouder of this yr’s lineup of exemplary novelists, playwrights, and poets from all over the world in addition to famend American writers. They embody Marlon James, Tommy Orange (who has simply received this yr’s PEN/Hemingway award), Sheila Heti, Jennifer Egan, Rodrigo Fresan, Ma Jian, Raúl Zurita, Sonia Sanchez, Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Liao Yiwu, Jennifer Clement, Mohammed Hanif, Elif Shafak, Miriam Toews, Pajtim Statovci, Scholastique Mukasonga, Niviaq Korneliussen, Isabella Hammad, Morgan Parker, and plenty of, many extra.
Try the total program right here.