Are you an activist? Check out our special curated guide to the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature next week.
Photo © Beowulf Sheehan / PEN American Center
“About ten days after the troops entered [Basra], the library was completely burnt down. We carried about 30,000 books to the restaurant and to our homes. Then, we transferred them from the restaurant to our homes in my own car and in cars belonging to the employees. Most of these books and manuscripts were rare and important ones. Regrettably, we lost a lot of books in the fire,” she said.
Three years after a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, poet Tom Healy looks “behind the sound bites of trauma” with award-winning Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat, who shares stories of her childhood and reflects on immigrant life in the United States.Listen to the interview on Creative Time Reports.
In the past decade, no place has been as over-represented and as under-understood than Sudan and the newly formed South Sudan. From a barrage of news articles to a flurry of op-eds, from millions of dollars spent on advertising and brand-management for Darfur activism to insipid, shallow visits from Hollywood celebrities to troubled areas, not a stone has been left unturned in the media hype that is called Sudan. This is not to say that there is nothing going on, but simply to posit that there has been no well-rounded, comprehensive or non-ideological approach to the crises that have been transpiring there since the late eighties. In the face of the one-note depiction of Sudan merely as a place of war and atrocities, then, this Warscapes Retrospective, “Literary Sudans,” is intended to deflect from the persistent negativity and focus instead on the two Sudans as vibrant sites of literature and poetry.
Read for Liu Xiaobo!
PEN International, in partnership with the Dublin-based human rights group Frontline Defenders (www.frontlinedefenders.org), will be launching an international campaign for imprisoned Chinese poet and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo in early December 2012, and is asking for your support. The campaign is aimed at pressuring the Chinese authorities at this time of leadership transition to release the acclaimed writer from his harsh imprisonment, the fourth year of which will be marked on 8 December 2012.
We are gathering video recordings of writers and poets around the world reading excerpts of Liu Xiaobo’s poetry, which will be uploaded onto a website and used as the basis for a series of actions and events leading up to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The videos will be placed online at the launch of the campaign, and an edited compilation will be created for use in campaign events.
The process for uploading a video is very simple. Please click here for instructions for submitting your video recording, and writing samples by Liu Xiaobo (in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Farsi and Chinese). A campaign paper with recommended actions will follow next week.
Thank you for taking part in this campaign.
Bryonn Bain, Nick Flynn, and Toure read at the PEN Prison Writing event at The Strand Bookstore.