Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie in Rochester for PEN World Voices

We’ve been planning this for the past few months (basically ever since the NYSCA sponsorted Facing Pages retreat last October), but we’re really pleased to finally be able to publicly announce that on May 1st, Open Letter will be hosting a PEN World Voices event here in Rochester featuring Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie.

This event—the first official PEN World Voices Festival event to take place outside of New York City—will take place from 6-8pm at the University of Rochester Advancement and Alumni Center, 300 E. River Road.

The event is free and open to the public, but we do have a limited number of seats, so all attendees must register via the link below. Simply click through, fill out the necessary info and print your confirmation page, which you’ll need to bring the night of the event.

I don’t think I really need to explain who Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco are, but if you’re interested, more info about each are available on this press release.

In terms of Rushdie, what I’m most excited about is this new edition of Shame, which is a Rushdie novel I haven’t read, but one that was recommended to me by both Edwin Frank of NYRB and Joanna Scott. Also, his new book— The Enchantress of Florence —will be out in June, was recently excerpted in the New Yorker and discussed at N+1

Umberto Eco—who may well give his reading in Italian, which I think would be really cool—has a very impressive website with information about all his books, interviews, articles about his work, etc. I’m very interested in reading his latest book Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism, which Publishers Weekly describes as such: “He delves deeply into such subjects as Mideastern and European politics, myth, prejudice, globalization, The Da Vinci Code, magical thinking, rhetoric, religion, intelligent design and Harry Potter.” An excerpt is available online from Harcourt.

Personally, I’m really excited to be involved in such a great event, with such great authors, and I have to thank Caro Llewellyn from PEN for making this all possible.

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