3 May 08 | Chad W. Post

Well, after a couple days of silence, we’re back with a mini-report from the fourth annual PEN World Voices Festival in New York City.

Mainly New York City, that is. On Thursday, University of Rochester/Open Letter hosted one of the first festival events to take place outside of NYC when we had a special reading and conversation with Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco. Both read wonderfully, and the conversation with Joanna Scott was one of the best Festival moments of all time. (I swear. And when the video from this event is available, I’ll post about it and you can see for yourself.)

It started with Eco talking about the list of the “twelve stupidest questions” he’d been asked while on tour and his “twelve stupid answers.” For example, to the question “Why did you name your book The Name of the Rose?” he’d respond “Because Pinocchio was copyrighted.”

All three authors were charming, funny, brilliant, and had a chemistry that really made the whole thing incredibly enjoyable to all. (If anyone that was there has any pics you’d like to share, e-mail them to me and I can get a couple online.) I’m proud to have been a part of this, to have the chance to hang out with both authors, and to see so many happy attendees.

(As a sidenote, Rushdie looked at our list of first titles and picked out Rubem Fonseca’s The Taker and Other Stories. I guess they know one another . . . Not to put the cart before the horse, but we’re hoping to bring him to the states sometime this fall . . .)

Overall, it was a wonderful event, and everyone involved—especially Caro Llewellyn and UR’s Conference and Events, and Deans Lennie, Olmsted, and DiPiero—all deserve a ton of thanks.


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