The Humanities Project Events for May 2008

Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco Reading

Thursday, May 1, 2008
PEN and Open Letter present
Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco Reading
6:00 p.m., East River Road Auditorium
Advancement and Alumni Center, 300 East River Road, Rochester, NY 14623
[google map]
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie

Two of the most respected international authors of our time, Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco, will read from their work and discuss literature as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, which is being hosted by Open Letter.

Salman Rushdie shot onto the literary scene in 1981 with the publication of Midnight's Children, a novel about 1,000 gifted children who were born at midnight, Aug. 15, 1947, when India and Pakistan gained independence from the British. The novel won the Booker Prize for that year, and then was awarded the "Booker of Bookers" Prize in 1993 for being judged the best novel to win the award from the past 25 years. Rushdie is also the author of The Satanic Verses, Shame, The Moor's Last Sigh, and the forthcoming The Enchantress of Florence.

Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco. Photo: Anne Selders

Best known for The Name of the Rose, which has sold over 26 million copies worldwide, Umberto Eco is considered to be one of the greatest Italian writers of the 20th century. His novel Foucault's Pendulum was praised by the New York Times as an "intellectual triumph" upon its release, and his other major works of fiction -- including Baudolino and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana -- received great critical praise. He also has published numerous works of nonfiction, including Travels in Hyperreality, A Theory of Semiotics, Experiences in Translation, On Literature, and, most recently, On Ugliness and Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism.

The Rochester program is one of the many events comprising the PEN World Voices Festival, an annual week-long event in New York City that brings together more than 100 writers from around the world for a series of readings, panel discussions, and other events—all in celebration of international literature. The event started in 2005, due to the efforts of Rushdie, and helps to "combat American isolationism by opening its borders to an international exchange of literature and ideas." The readings and discussion by Rushdie and Eco will be the first key festival events ever to take place outside of New York City.

Other community partners involved in this event include the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, Writers & Books, New York State Literary Center, and BOA Editions.

The event is free and open to the public, but entrance tickets are required. Ticket information can be found at
For further information, contact Erica Strawbridge at the Conference and Events Office (585) 275-4111, .

Read more about the event on the Three Percent blog.