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Left/Right Literature: The Politics of Taking Up the Pen


May 1 | Scandinavia House | NYC

With Nadeem Aslam, Norbert Gstrein, Mariken Jongman, Khet Mar, and Domenico Starnone, moderated by Larry Siems

The image of the writer as revolutionary is certainly one of the most enduring and romantic ones; but what about the writer as archconservative, defender of the status quo? Historically, writers have found themselves on both sides of the political divide. An esteemed international panel, including Dutch author Mariken Jongman, Burmese Khet Mar, Italian Domenico Starnone, Austrian Norbert Gstrein, and Pakistan-born Nadeem Aslam, take on this discussion of writing and politics.

Cosponsored by The American-Scandinavian Foundation

• Entire event (1:13:25)

• View the photo gallery on Flickr

PEN Blogs

• Masha Hamilton:
It’s an issue authors have wrestled with through the ages: what responsibility do they have to respond to the political struggles of their community, their country, their world? [More]

• Deji Olukotun:
Ask a room full of writers whether they have a responsibility to write about politics, and you will get a negative response.  Writing should be unfettered by responsibilities, they will assert, while a few liberal types might mutter a defense before being shouted down. [More]

• Robert Flynn:
Quick! Who were the pro-slavery writers of the 19th Century? Who were the writers who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War? [More]

• Antonio Romani:
Il tema proposto, indubbiamente stimolante, è quello del rapporto tra scrittori e potere, e l’assunto che storicamente essi si sono schierati su entrambi i lati della classica divisione tra destra e sinistra. [More]


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