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Readings: Public Lives/Private Lives

April 30, 2008 | The Town Hall | New York

Proudly supported by Rodale

With Coral Bracho, Peter Esterhazy, Rian Malan, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose,  Annie Proulx, Evelyn Schlag, A.B. Yehoshua; introduced by Salman Rushdie 

What do we know about writers? That their creativity often comes from the most private and fiercely guarded places? That they’re often thrust into public roles, either by choice or circumstance? Join PEN for the opening night of the 2008 World Voices Festival, as some of the world’s most beloved and illustrious writers—novelists, journalists, poets, and essayists—peel back the layers of their literary selves in a rare group appearance at Town Hall.


PHOTO GALLERY: Flickr photostream

• Entire event (1:37:33)

• Introduction by Salman Rushdie (6:30)
• Michael Ondaatje reads from “The Great Tree” and Divisadero (8:55)
• Evelyn Schlag reads “New York Marathon” and “New York 1999” (11:35)
• Rian Malan reads “In my memory it’s always winter in . . . ” (7:45)
• Annie Proulx reads from Aidan Higgins’s Langrishe, Go Down (10:30)
• Péter Esterházy reads from Celestial Harmonies (9:40)
• Coral Bracho reads “Among These Ruins” and “Water’s Lubricious Edges” (7:45)
• A.B. Yehoshua reads from A Woman in Jerusalem (12:25)
• Francine Prose reads from Goldengrove (11:20)
• Ian McEwan reads from a novel-in-progress (10:25)

PEN Blogs

• Gini Alhadeff
Salman Rushdie introduced the theme of this festival, Public Lives, Private Lives, by saying that Jane Austen published Northanger Abbey in 1799, the same year that Napoleon took control of France. [More]

• Jane Ciabattari
Jane Austen wrote about private lives, nary a hint of the Napoleonic Wars. Not an option for writers today; the public world intrudes…[More]

• Laban Carrick Hill
Seeing Salmon Rushdie alive and up on stage is a real testament not just to how much the writer’s imagined space, but also his or her entire personal world, intersects with the public or outside world. [More]

• Anne Landsman
Last night I wanted to be Hungarian. [More]

• Joshua Wolf Shenk
“PLEASE turn your god damned phones off.”
        –  Salman Rushdie, introducing the big event [More]

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