Liao Yiwu, author of The Corpse Walker and one of China’s “most exciting and most censored writers” is making his first U.S. appearance tomorrow night.
In and of itself, this is pretty cool—The Corpse Walker is a damn fine book, and he’s going to be appearing with Philip Gourevitch and Salman Rushdie—but the event has been made even more memorable since Liao Yiwu escaped from China to German this summer.
Here’s an email he sent out back in April:
Friends: I originally planned to leave for the United States on April 4 in order to make a publicity tour for my book God is Red which will be published in English translation by Harper Collins and for my book The Corpse Walker which was published by Random House. Unexpectedly, on March 28th, the police issued an order forbidding me to leave China. I had originally planned to travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington and other cities and to give lectures, readings and musical performances at Harvard, Yale and other universities as well as participate in the New York Literary Festival where I was to make a speech and perform, and to have a dialogue with writers from around the world on the theme “Contemporary Writer and Bearing Witness to History”. Now all this has been canceled. My new book is also going to be published in Australia. My plan to travel from the United States to Australia has also been canceled. Ever since my return from Germany last year, I have been closely monitored. The police have “invited me to drink tea” many times. My writing has been repeatedly interrupted. I have once again been forbidden to travel abroad for national security reasons. Over the last ten or so years I have strived to get the right to travel abroad 16 times. I succeeded once and failed 15 times. Thank you all for your concern for me over the years. Liao Yiwu
So if you’re in the NY area, you should definitely check this out. It’s taking place tomorrow, September 13th at 8pm at the Tishman Auditorium at the New School (66 W. 12th St., between 5th and 6th Aves). Tickets are $20 or $15 for PEN Members and students. More information—including a link to buy tickets—is available here.
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