PEN World Voices Festival Returns to New York

By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
April 29, 2013 5:08 pm Last Updated: June 24, 2015 8:43 pm

NEW YORK—The PEN World Voices festival has returned to New York City for 9th year in a row. The literary and arts festival brings together artists from all over the world. 

The festival is held at various locations throughout New York City from April 29-May 5 and includes a variety of afternoon and evening events. Most participants are journalists, writers, philosophers, and musicians who gather in conversation and performance about their crafts. 

The 2013 festival is honing in on the theme of “bravery”—in art, politics, and everyday life. In their festival announcement letter, organizers explain that the current theme is a reflection of PEN’s credo of deep belief in “individual freedom, freedom of expression, and first amendment rights as the foundation of a fuller and better life.” 

Some of the festival’s most high-profile acts this year include Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who authored an autobiography, Fran Lebowitz, Jamaica Kincaid, and others. 

One of PEN World Voices most popular annual events is the Friday night “Literary Safari.” The evening consists of an unusual opportunity to wander through Westbeth Artists’ Housing in Manhattan. Visitors are allowed to enter and exit the homes of participating artists in the city’s oldest and largest artist community. Each open home will have a different attraction, including bedside readings, dinner table discussions, and a poet in the elevator. The building is a notorious labryinthe of hallways that lends mystery and atmosphere to the evening, which ends in a reception and champagne toast in the gallery.

Some of the most provocative events will deal with freedom and justice, including a Saturday, May 4 event on military and intelligence individuals who created a written record of events at Guantánamo. The discussion will be part of a series on “resistance in writing” that will ask questions about whether making a decision to write changes the writer. 

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