An audience of readers, activists, writers, intellectuals, and lovers of the written word gathered to kick off the 2014 PEN World Voices Festival. Some of the globe’s most prominent thinkers each, in turn, brought their enthusiasm for societal improvement to the stage for a 7-minute oration—a kind of mini-soliloquy of unrestrained intellectual fury—on the social or political phenomenon of their choosing. This was a rare opportunity to hear about the issues, both macro and micro, which preoccupy the imaginations of these brilliant women and men, and to learn about what they would change immediately if they had the means to do so.