An Activist Guide to PEN World Voices
Tuesday, May 1
Revolutionary Plays Since 2000: the Future of Political Theatre Where: The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. What time: 2 p.m.: Reading, Iced Tea by Lasha Bugadze; 4 p.m.: Reading, A Diary in Scenes by Laila Soliman; 6:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion Cost: Free! Lasha Bugadze (Georgia), Laila Soliman (Egypt), Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (Iran), and the Civilians (New York) have all tried to turn street-level protest into art. Did they succeed? Moderator Mike Daisey, the monologist whose The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs has started a media firestorm over working conditions in China, hosts this provocative discussion of art and the revolution.
Wednesday, May 2
A Reporter’s Perspective on War Where: Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center at Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn What time: 7–8:30 p.m.; Cost: Free! Polish journalist Wojceich Jagiski chronicles ongoing conflicts and the tolls they take upon those who live in their midst. His forthcoming book, The Night Wanderers, examines how the Lord’s Resistance Army under Joseph Kony preys upon Ugandan youth. Hear one of the most exciting voices in journalism discuss his career on the frontlines worldwide with Joel Whitney, a founding editor of Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics. Opening Night—The Kronos Quartet: Exit Strategies Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave. What time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $30 at 212-570-3949 or www.metmuseum.org/tickets / $20 PEN Members over the phone or at the museum’s box office.Can literature and music overlap and enhance one another? For the past three decades, the Grammy Award–winning Kronos Quartet has demonstrated a spirit of fearless exploration, inviting audiences to rethink the nature and power of music. In this Festival’s signature event, the string quartet will team up with writers Tony Kushner, Marjane Satrapi, and Rula Jebreal to further explore the boundaries between these two arts—with a focus on activism.
Thursday, May 3
Herta Müller on Silence Where: Deutsches Haus, 42 Washington Mews What time: 3–5 p.m.; Cost: Free with required RSVP. [email protected]. Born in rural Romania as part of the German-speaking minority, Nobel Laureate Herta Müller has recalled her childhood as a “school of silence,” where the loss of words reflected an inadequacy of language itself, and resulted from an oppressive dictatorial regime with both communist and nationalistic traits. Writing became a way to break the silence. Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis and Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums) Where: The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St. What time: 4:30–6:05 p.m. (Persepolis) and 8–10:15 p.m. (Poule aux Prunes) Tickets: $12/$10 seniors/$8 students; tickets can only be purchased through MOMA’s box office beginning one week prior to the event.At 8 p.m., the peerless Iranian-born graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi will speak with artist Françoise Mouly and MoMA’s Sally Berger about her strategies for storytelling in film. The event includes a screening of Satrapi’s new film Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums), based on the graphic novel of the same name. Understanding Egypt Where: The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th St. What time: 8–9:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com Over a year has passed since Egypt’s initial uprising, but the country is still facing unstable times and an uncertain future. Egyptian-born analyst and correspondent Mona Eltahawy, who spent a decade covering the Middle East as a journalist for Reuters and the U.K. Guardian, shares her expertise on the complexities of the Egyptian revolution. The New Censorship Where: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery St. What time: 6–7:30 p.m.; Cost: Free! Is the aim of anti-piracy legislation tantamount to censorship? After a public outcry against industry-backed copyright and anti-piracy bills in both the House and Senate, PEN invites a panel of authors to discuss their perspective as creative writers and published authors.
Friday, May 4
In Conversation: Herta Müller and Claire Messud Where: 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, 1395 Lexington Ave. What time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20/$15 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com Translated into over 40 languages, Nobel Laureate Herta Müller’s works have received worldwide acclaim for their unflinching portrayals of the corrosive effect of political oppression on the human spirit. In her first New York appearance in over a decade, after a reading from her forthcoming novel The Hunger Angel, Müller will be interviewed by another literary titan, Claire Messud. In Conversation: Ludmila Ulitskaya Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq. What time: 8–9:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com Recipient of the 2002 Russian Booker Prize, Ludmila Ulitskaya is considered the heir to Chekhov and among the most important writers in Russia today. She will read excerpts from her correspondence with Amnesty International “prisoner of conscience” Mikhail Khordorkovsky and discuss the current political, cultural, and social situation in Russia, with special attention to the ongoing anti-Putin protests and the recent presidential election. John Cage: How to Get Started; with Aleksandar Hemon and Sonia Sanchez Where: Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (at 95th St.) What time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $20/$17 PEN and Symphony Space members/$10 students with valid ID. Call 212-864-5400 or visit www.symphonyspace.org. Capping off a day-long celebration of the work of composer John Cage, author Aleksandar Hemon and activist Sonia Sanchez will create an improvised performance dedicated to free speech that is based on 10 randomly-selected words.
Saturday, May 5
Life in the Panopticon: Thoughts on Freedom in an Era of Pervasive Surveillance Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq. What time: 1–2:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com The technological advancements spurred by the computing revolution have improved our lives, but have also diminished our privacy and enhanced the government’s power to monitor us. Writers and directors who have grappled with technology’s mixed blessings join civil liberties advocates to discuss ways of preserving our freedom in an era in which we all dwell in Bentham’s Panopticon—a prison that allows our wardens to observe us at all times without being seen themselves. In Conversation: Jamal Joseph and Sonia Sanchez on the Black Panther Party Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq. What time: 3–4:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.comWho were the Black Panthers and why do their stories matter? In Panther Baby, activist, author, filmmaker, and Oscar nominee Jamal Joseph combines political history with memoir to illustrate the turbulent history of the Party. Join him in conversation with poet of the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez, as these two vital voices—which have mined their lives on the frontlines of art and activism—consider the Black Panther Party. Writings from the Domestic Workers United Workshop Where: Wollman Hall, The New School, 65 West 11th Street What time: 3–4:30 p.m.; Cost: Free! Unified by the motto, “We have a dream that one day, all work will be valued equally,” Domestic Workers United is a guild of New York nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers, organizing for power, respect, and fair labor standards. Join them as they emerge from a five-month writing workshop led by documentary poet, global labor activist, and 2010 Guggenheim Fellow Mark Nowak. The event includes a brief discussion followed by a reading of work generated in class. Children’s Rights Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq. What time: 5–6:30 p.m.; Cost: Free! What are the rights of children? What is our responsibility, as citizens of the world, to defend them? A uniquely qualified panel of authors and activists, including Khmer Rouge Genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond, will explore the history of the Children’s Rights Movement and how past atrocities can inform contemporary advocacy on local, national, and global scales, paying particular attention to ongoing violations in Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Steve Bell Goes to America Where: Wollman Hall, The New School, 65 West 11th Street What time: 5–6:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com Cartoonist Steve Bell has been lampooning Her Majesty’s Government since the early days of Margaret Thatcher. His weekly strip in The Guardian is a staple of British political discourse, and has been drawing outrage from the office of the Prime Minister to the House of Commons for over 30 years. In an intimate conversation, the cartoonist offers a ferocious take on the American political landscape in this election year. Dialogue Series: Tony Kushner on Politics as Story Where: The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th St. What time: 6–7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com Buy tickets to all three Dialogue Series events for $30/$25 PEN Members. Author Tony Kushner has tackled some of the most charged subjects of our time. For the third and final installment of our Dialogue Series, “What to Do with Literature,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright will discuss with Paul Auster both the “how” and “why” of political subject matter, including his rejection of polemics in favor of what he calls “a dialectically shaped truth,” as well as the rewards and challenges that come with this literary territory.
Sunday, May 6
Occupy a New Debate Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq. What time: 1–2:30 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com What do we talk about when we talk about Occupy Wall Street? What has it done—and what it is doing now? Occupy! Gazette founders will discuss their inspiration for the publication and the challenges of writing about Occupy Wall Street as it unfolds, considering both the movement in its current form and its potential. Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture: Salman Rushdie Where: The Cooper Union, Great Hall, 7 E. 7th St. What time: 5–6 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 PEN Members and students with valid ID. Call 866-811-4111 or visit ovationtix.com In his first Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, novelist and PEN World Voices Festival founder Salman Rushdie will examine the many faces of censorship in contemporary society and the role of the author within a climate of forced silence and intolerance. The talk will be followed by a pop-Q&A—designed and administered by fiction luminary Gary Shteyngart—that requires Sir Rushdie to ad lib responses to whatever is brought to the table. Join us for what is sure to be a surprising event where nothing is taboo!