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PEN World Voices Festival (Preview of Thursday Events)

I’ve been meaning to write a bunch of things about the PEN World Voices events, but, well, life has sort of gotten in the way. Instead, what I think I’ll do is simply preview some of tomorrow’s events, and then tomorrow I’ll write up stuff about Friday and weekend.

I’m flying down early (like crack-of-dawn early) to write up a bunch of events for the PEN blog and for Three Percent. I’m also planning on interviewing Sofi Oksanen, Quim Monzo, and Mary Ann Newman for the Reading the World podcast series. And writing about the whole PEN World Voices experience for Publishing Perspectives. Oh, and attending as many parties as possible. (Not that I’ve actually been invited to any yet . . . Sigh.)

Anyway, here the Thursday events that I think sound most interesting:

Alexander Hemon’s probably the big draw for most people, but I’d be more interested in seeing Esther Allen moderate this. And Martin Solares, whose The Black Minutes looks very intriguing, is also participating along with Major Jackson, Yiyun Li, and Marcel Möring.

Susan Bernofsky is moderating this discussion with Michael Hofmann and Peter Stamm about the challenges in bringing Stamm’s work into English. Stamm was one (although not the primary one) of the inspirations behind this little bit of insanity that I wrote at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

I didn’t realize until I started putting this together, but all of my friends are moderating panels tomorrow . . . Anyway, this book sounds pretty interesting. Here’s a quote from a review in the Independent: “Homesick focuses on the relationship between student psychologist Amir and his student-photographer girlfriend Noa, but it moves fast to absorb the voices of their neighbours and covers several generations of Jews and Palestinians. Most striking is Nevo’s capacity to chart the delicate shifts in relationships and his skill in evoking longing for love, for a lost home, for parental attention and for renewal in stale marriage. He mixes his poignant observations of failing love with irony and occasional farce.”

I like readings in pubs. As a bonus, the lineup is pretty solid: Preston L. Allen, Javier Cercas, Siri Hustvedt, Karl O. Knausgaard, Anne Landsman, Thomas Pletzinger, Monique Proulx, Lee Stringer, Christos Tsiolkas, and Tommy Wieringa

  • New York Stories
    (The Morgan Library & Museum, Gilder Lehrman Hall, 225 Madison Avenue, 7–8:30 p.m.)

Again with the awesome moderator . . . I can guarantee Edwin Frank will make this incredibly interesting. One of our authors—Quim Monzo, whose Gasoline is available now—is participating on this along with Darryl Pinckney, Colm Toibin, and Roxanna Robinson.

Huh, look at that, moderated by David Haglund. And starring John Freeman, Rodrigo Fresán, Rob Spillman, M Mark, and Peter Stamm. Man do I wish I was flying down tomorrow instead of Friday . . . Ah well. Anyway, this should be really interesting, seeing that some great lit mags are represented here, including Granta, Tin House and PEN America.

Hope everyone enjoys all these events . . . In addition to the pieces (or more likely “pieces,” since I think I’m going to be exhausted and not complete in my mind when I go to write up the events I’m attending) I’ll try and get some “reports from the field” to include later in the week(end).



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