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What Can’t Be Sung: Xiaolu Guo and Nellie McKay in Conversation with Sasha Frere-Jones

“Anything I can sing, I call a song. Anything I can’t sing, I call a poem.” – Bob Dylan

Do novelists, poets, and musicians explore culture in different ways? How do they tell stories of introspection? Do the processes of writing music and writing literature speak to each other? How do they map the past and present in our increasingly connected world?

On Tuesday, September 9th at Ace Hotel’s Liberty Hall, the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones will guide literary sensation and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo—recently named one of Granta Magazine’s Best Young British Novelists—and acclaimed singer-songwriter Nellie McKay, in an intimate program that addresses these questions and more. Musician, writer, and cultural critic Frere-Jones will expertly put some of PEN’s core beliefs to the test: meditating on the power of the written word, the urgency of protecting writers from persecution and censorship, and the belief that a vital literary culture can affect change. The event will include a reading from Xiaolu Guo’s forthcoming novel I Am China, and the possibility of surprise performances.

This conversation will launch a season of thought-provoking events in PEN’s revitalized 2014-2015 Public Programs calendar. After the reading we’ll toast our upcoming schedule of conversations, performances, and panels that aim to show how every working writer is ultimately a writer of conscience. Please join us on September 9th, and be sure to continue celebrating with PEN throughout the year as we offer an array of literary programming demonstrating how literature is approachable, unexpected, and essential to our understanding of how we live.

Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel
20 W 29th Street
New York City, NY 10001

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Come for drink specials, mingling, and conversation!
Program begins at 8 pm.

Tickets: $25/$20 for PEN Members with code 

You can also see Xiaolu Guo at the Asia Society