The Language Barrier

About a year after my father was transferred from the American Consulate in Montreal to the Consulate in Salonika, Greece, my brothers and I began to speak to our… More

November & Persephone

A golden shredding of light, slow unfolding, the airy geometry of trees revealed in a day by day transfiguration of tough vegetable matter into clearer and clearer frames of radiance, until you scarcely know… More

The Holy Ghost’s Life of Writing

The Holy Ghost's Life of WritingI think the Holy Ghost has writtennot only the Bible but all books.—George Bernard ShawNo staring out the windows, no sharpening pencils,no torn-up pages,… More

WiPC Case List: January to June 2004

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN was set up in 1960 as a result of mounting concern about attempts to silence critical voices around the world… More

Sube a Nacer Conmigo

Buenas noches. Thirty years ago, when Pablo Neruda was buried in Santiago’s Cementerio General, I was living just a few miles away from where his body was being lowered… More

Multiple Rebirths

This talk was presented, in slightly different form, at a PEN Tribute to Gabriel García Márquez. It is often remarked that Gabriel García Márquez’s writings are read by people… More

The Torturer General

It seems surreal: The president's nominee for the highest legal position in the land is a proponent of torture. In his notorious Jan. 25, 2002, memorandum to Bush, Alberto… More

We Are All Torturers Now

At least since Watergate, Americans have come to take for granted a certain story line of scandal, in which revelation is followed by investigation, adjudication and expiation. Together, Congress… More

Liberty’s Language

NEW YORK - As the ultimate guardians of language and its complexity, writers have always felt the need to deal with the great crises of their time. In those… More

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