From The Epoch Times

Bringing together more than fifty distinguished authors from around the world, together with a stellar list of their U.S. counterparts, is the PEN American Center.

In Manhattan from April 26 to May 2, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, comprising 3,400 writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers, will present a series of readings, conversations, and performances to promote international understanding and literary culture.

This year is particularly special as it marks PEN’s 50th anniversary of its campaigns on behalf of persecuted writers.

Space precludes listing all events so I will provide an overview. Readings from Around the Globe—Opening Night Extravaganza marks the official opening of the Festival on Wednesday April 28, offering a lineup of internationally acclaimed writers from Pakistan, Hungary, the U.K., and many other nations.

A two-day series of play readings and discussions with Arab playwrights: New Plays from the Arab World, is brought from London by the British Council/Royal Court Theatre Project.

Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison converses with Marlene van Niekerk regarding the latter’s recent darkly comic and controversial depiction of post-apartheid South Africa in her novel, Triomf. Moderated by K. Anthony Appiah.

The Great Fire—Shirley Hazzard in Conversation with Richard Ford features a rare meeting of these two modern-day masters of the grand themes of “time, love … the dislocation of modern life.”

New European Fiction celebrates the launch of a new anthology series, Best European Fiction, with readings and discussion led by editor Aleksandar Hemon.

New York Stories features discussions on three great writers inextricably identified with the city: Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Elizabeth Hardwick.

Adaptation: From Stage to Screen discusses what is lost, and gained, in the translation of fiction to film. Philippe Dijan, Barry Gifford, Richard Price, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint will make up the distinguished panel of authors, directed by Francine Prose, author and former PEN American Center president.

Art is not overlooked. In The Poetry of Edward Hopper, that great painter of solitude is illuminated by Catalan poet Ernest Farres, joined by New York poet Edward Hirsh.

With many international desks and bureaus closing, The Future of Journalism discusses the future of the news.

What of the future of reading? Philip Roth recently said that reading novels would be obsolete in 25 years; that “the book can’t compete with the screen.” Attend Blogs, Twitter, the Kindle: The Future of Reading, with several noted writers joining Ben Schrank, president and publisher of Razorbill, a Penguin imprint.

Weather Report: What Can We Do? features a transatlantic conversation regarding global warming, the Copenhagen climate talks, and policy options for the future, featuring noted scientists and writers from the U.S. and Scandinavia.

Several poetry events are planned, as well as The Translation Slam, with leading translators joining in a literary “duel.”

A PEN Freedom to Write event, an evening of readings from documentary and imaginative literature, people from around the world have fought back, in Face-to-Face: Confronting the Torturers.

On the lighter side, the PEN Cabaret will feature singing, and possibly dancing.

In all cases, participants and moderators are experts in their field. It will be possible to purchase a book at the festival and have it signed by the author.

Events, some in the afternoon, some in the evening, take place at various sites around Manhattan, including CUNY Graduate Center, the Morgan Library, La Maison Francaise, Metropolitan Museum, Scandinavia House, Bowery Poetry Club, 92nd Street Y, Instituto Cervantes, and more.

Many events are free to the public; others cost a nominal fee of $10 or $15.

This year’s officials are Salmon Rushdie, chair; Caro Llewellyn, director; and Anthony Apiah, president, PEN American Center.