On January 25–29, 2016, PEN America will host a delegation of prominent Russian writers and publishers who are braving the currents of authoritarianism under President Vladimir Putin to stand up for free expression.

World-renowned author Ludmila Ulitskaya will lead the delegation in a series of public events and private meetings in New York and Washington under the title The Closing of the Russian Mind? Expression, Creativity, and Culture in Putin’s Russia. Delegates will reflect on how the Kremlin uses media, literature, and other forms of creative expression to control the narrative of past and present, as detailed in a new PEN report to be released on January 25.

Ulitskaya, whose recent novel The Big Green Tent was released in English translation in November, will be joined in the PEN America delegation by Ilya Danishevsky, chief editor at the Vremena publishing house who focuses on authors challenging official discourse; poet Maria Stepanova, editor of the crowd-funded culture blog Colta.ru, which has quietly eluded the Kremlin’s monopolism of ideas; and Anna Nemzer, a young Russian novelist and editor at Dozhd/TVRain, Russia’s last independent liberal broadcaster. Acclaimed Russian-American writer Masha Gessen, a PEN Trustee, will accompany the delegation.

THE CLOSING OF THE RUSSIAN MIND?
EXPRESSION, CREATIVITY, AND CULTURE IN PUTIN’S RUSSIA

WHAT: Voices from Russia: Literature and Free Expression Under Putin, a reading and discussion on the changing face of Russian literature 25 years after the fall of the USSR.
WHO: Ludmila Ulitskaya, Ilya Danishevsky, Maria Stepanova, and Anna Nemzer; moderated by journalist Boris Kachka
WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 7:30pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY
TICKETS: Free and open to the public. RSVP required: http://bit.ly/1OKxcWp
This event will be live streamed at http://livestre.am/13Ba9

WHAT: The Closing of the Russian Mind? (New York), an exploration of the writer’s experience in modern Russia as the government co-opts creative expression to control the narrative of the past and present.
WHO: Ludmila Ulitskaya, Ilya Danishevsky, Maria Stepanova, and Anna Nemzer; moderated by author-activist Masha Gessen
WHEN: Wednesday, January 27, 7:30pm
WHERE: Jewish Cultural Center, 334 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY
TICKETS: $15, available at http://bit.ly/PEN-JCC
This event will be live streamed at http://livestream.com/jcc/russian-mind

WHAT: The Closing of the Russian Mind? (Washington DC), an inside look at how censorship is used by the Kremlin to control discourse and how the international community can support creativity in Russia
WHO: Ludmila Ulitskaya, Ilya Danishevsky, Maria Stepanova, and Anna Nemzer; moderated by Scott Stossel
WHEN: Thursday, January 28, 4pm
WHERE: The Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC
TICKETS: Free and open to the public. Registration required: http://bit.ly/22Zy3ZN
This event will be live streamed at http://bit.ly/22Zyd3l

WHY: As 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, public space for dissent has nearly disappeared in Russia today. Early Putin-era censorship of news media is now seeping into the cultural space, including literature, theater, and the arts.

Press wishing to attend any events should RSVP to sedkins@pen.org by Thursday, January 21.

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CONTACT
Sarah Edkins, Deputy Director for Communications: sedkins@pen.org, +1 (646) 779‐4830