Rushdie and McEwan Head World Voice Festival Line-up
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The international writers group PEN announced participants and programs for its annual World Voices Festival of International Literature on Thursday, featuring Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates and actress Mia Farrow.
The festival, which runs from April 29 though May 4 and includes 82 events, will bring together 170 writers from 51 countries in a series of discussions, readings, interviews and performances.
“This will be our biggest and best celebration of literature yet,” the festival’s director Caro Llewellyn said on board the ocean liner Queen Mary 2, where this year’s event was previewed.
PEN American Center’s president Francine Prose noted that this year’s theme of “Public Lives/Private Lives” was particularly apt, given that “our (U.S.) borders are becoming increasingly closed.”
Prose cited U.S. immigration officials’ refusal this week to admit British writer Sebastian Horsley into the country on grounds of “moral turpitude.”
Horsley’s autobiography, “Dandy in the Underworld,” is a detailed chronicle of the writer’s extensive experiences with drugs and prostitution. “God bless America, land of the free, but sadly not the home of the depraved,” the writer said after being sent back to London.
“Public Lives/Private Lives,” the festival’s opening night event, features Annie Proulx, A.B Yehoshua, Peter Esterhazy, Michael Ondaatje, Carol Bracho, McEwan, Rian Malan and Evelyn Schlag in an examination of the schism between the public lives of famous writers and their often very private natures.
Other highlights include a discussion of the Darfur crisis with actress Farrow and French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy; an evening with Mario Vargas Llosa, Umberto Eco and PEN World Voice chairman Rushdie entitled “The Three Musketeers Reunited”; a conversation with McEwan and Harvard academic Steven Pinker and an on-stage interview of Oates, author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated books “Black Water,” “What I Lived For” and “Blonde.”