A Special Event of PEN World Voices Festival 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012 6:30pm check-in
7:00pm – 9:00pm readings and cocktails
Price: $15/$10 PEN Members and students
Phone: (212) 334-1660, ext. 120
This year marks the 8th edition of the PEN World Voices of International Literature Festival and features writers from Austria, Russia, Germany, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Mexico, Spain, Denmark, Israel, Iran, Bosnia, Romania, Colombia, and the United States, including: Tony Kushner, Herta Müller, Julya Rabinowich, Colson Whitehead, Salman Rushdie, Giannina Braschi, Yusef Komunyakaa, Edwardson, Stéphane Hessel , Edgar Morin, Jaume Cabré, Jennifer Egan, Wenguang Huang, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Wojciech Jagielski, Etgar Keret, Elias Khoury and many others.
On Friday, May 4, 2012 at 6:30pm, the public is invited to wander the hallways of Westbeth Center for the Arts, a converted industrial space, map in hand, to find an entire evening’s worth of literary events. Audience members will enjoy intimate readings by Pen Festival authors inside the homes of famous Westbeth residents and end the night at a cocktail reception with their favorite authors at the event’s closing party at Westbeth’s legendary art gallery.
- Wednesday, February 29, 2012; GREAT MINDS VISIT RUTGERS: Giannina Braschi, Groundbreaking Author. From across the Hudson River, around the nation, and the world beyond our shores, exceptional thinkers come to Rutgers to enlighten, engage, and entertain. The Great Minds lecture series covers the gamut of human inquiry. Meet -the-author reception begins at 6pm at The Latino Arts Center @ 122 College Avenue, New Brunswick. Dramatic reading by Giannina Braschi from UNITED STATES OF BANANA takes place @ 7pm at The Graduate Students Lounge of Rutgers College Student Center located @ 126 College Avenue, New Brunswick. The event is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education, College Avenue Campus deans, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, Program in Comparative Literature, the Institute for Research on Women, and Center for Latino Arts and Culture. Link for university map: http://rumaps.rutgers.edu/
- Emory University Presents Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana, Wednesday, April 18, 2011 at 4:30pm. More information forthcoming.
- PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature 2012 (Monday, April 30th through Sunday, May 6th, 2012 New York City). Giannina Braschi @ the PEN Festival of Dreams 2012, organized by Laszlo Jakab Orsos & Salman Rushdie of PEN American Center. For exact time and location contact: www.pen.org
- AMERICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION, 23nd Annual Conference, May 24-27, 2012. Reading from United States of Banana by Giannina Braschi and book signing. Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, CA. Conference Director: email@example.comNew York State Writers Institute to be held on Friday, October 26
- SAMEDI 9 JUIN, UNIVERSITE PARIS SORBONNE (PARIS IV) 14h15 – 15h45 Bibliothèque Louis Bonnerot: Lectures de GIANNINA BRASCHI et Jérôme ORSONI (modérateur : Jagna Oltarzewska). &NOW FESTIVAL OF NEW WRITINGS OF FRANCE & THE US AT THE SORBONNE UNIVERSITY IN PARIS JUNE 9.
- PUERTO RICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION 2012 CONFERENCE, 20th Anniversary, New York State Writers Institute, Albany, Friday, October 26, 2012.
- AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION 2012 CONFERENCE. Dimensions of Empire and Resistance: Past, Present, and Future. November 15-18, 2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico @ The Caribe Hilton. [Since the publication of Donald Pease and Amy Kaplan's Cultures of United States Imperialism in 1994, empire has come to hold a central place in American Studies scholarship, resulting in a rich and varied literature devoted to the topic in direct, unblinking, and sophisticated ways. Consider the vast spectrum of political and cultural practices running from colonial administration and military occupation; to tourism; to the history of sugar or rum or baseball; to the power dynamics either fostered or legitimated by educational practices and institutions -- in places like Puerto Rico, for instance -- or by "knowledge" and the disciplines themselves; to the quotidian imperialist slanders carried in US popular culture -- and equally, the constant articulations of dissent; to metaphorical usages, like "media empire," which are nonetheless embedded in histories of empire proper; to the transnational logic of a canonical "national treasure" like Moby-Dick; to the thick traces of the imperial past and the anti-imperialist present in a text like Empire of Dreams, by Puerto Rican poet Giannina Braschi.]
Monday, November 21, 2011, 7:00pm @ Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico [Avenida Ponce de Leon #500, San Juan, Puerto Rico]. Welcoming remarks by Professor Maria M. Carrion of Emory University. Dramatic reading and book signing by Giannina Braschi. Cocktail reception and viewing of an archival exhibition on the life and works of Giannina Braschi.
- Thursday, December 1, 2011, 6:30pm @ Instituto Cervantes [211 East 49th Street, off 2nd Avenue, New York, New York]. Welcoming remarks by Professor Cristina Garrigos of Texas A&M. Short film by Michael Somoroff on United States of Banana, followed by a reading and book signing by Giannina Braschi.
- Friday, December 2, 7:00 pm @ Poets House [10 River Terrace, Battery Park City, downtown New York]. Remarks by poet D. Nurske, author of The Fall. Reading and book signing by Giannina Braschi.
- Thursday, February 16, 2012, 6pm. Giannina Braschi‘s United States of Banana. XXVIII Biennial Louisiana Conference on Hispanic Languages &Literatures: Independence in Latin America, 1812-2012. Lousiana State University, Baton Rouge. For info, contact LSUHispanic@lsu.edu
http://www.wapa.tv/noticias/especiales/orgullo-boricua–giannina-braschi_20111205213641.html (Orgullo Boricua, WAPATV, Channel 4 News)
THE NEW YORK TIMES
May 7, 2012, 10:09 am
Rushdie Brings PEN Festival to Close By
The PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature ended Sunday night on a traditional note, with a lecture by the Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie, the target of an ayatollah’s fatwa in 1989, about the freedom to write. In recent years the festival has experimented with offerings that blur the distinction between literature and other forms of art or entertainment, and this year was no exception: the 37 scheduled events included one on Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum in which three writers recited texts over a live musical performance by the Kronos Quartet and another on Saturday night that had five authors giving a thematic reading called “Messiah in Brooklyn” as they stood amid an installation at a gallery called the Invisible Dog Art Center. But since its founding 90 years ago, PEN America has aimed to be simultaneously a literary and a human rights group, with a focus on defending the rights of both writers and readers around the world, and Mr. Rushdie’s talk managed to address both sets of issues. “Originality is dangerous,” he said, a statement as much political as esthetic. And there was this, to conclude his remarks after pointed observations critical of limitations on thought and expression not just in China but also in the United States: “Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.” Not that there weren’t also moments of levity. In the question and answer period that followed the main address, the novelist Gary Shteyngart, born in what was then Leningrad and raised in New York, began his task as interlocutor with a jocular query. “An Indian and a Russian walk into a bar. Which one is inherently more free?” Mr. Rushdie wasn’t sure how to answer that one, but in response to other questions, he lamented both a certain human tendency to value material well-being over intellectual freedom, China perhaps being the prime example, and the headlong flight of post-Communist societies to intellectual pap. “It’s not inevitable that right will triumph,” he said after Mr. Shteyngart told of his recent trip to Beijing, in which one Chinese contact acknowledged limitations on his freedom of expression but pointed out that he owned a Buick Skylark and Mr Shteyngart didn’t. Earlier in the festival, a pair of panels had attempted to confront some of the same tensions.
The premise of a Thursday evening discussion called “The New Censorship” was that “as corporations move to the forefront in the quest for control over information and its flow, the battle over censorship has changed, and its newest champions are found not in the statehouse, but in the boardroom.” But the contradictions embodied in that thesis and the situation it describes, perhaps inherent, soon became apparent.
The Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschi, the panel’s first speaker, offered a critique of 21st century capitalism in which she condemned “corporate censorship” and control. “Nobody owns a work of art, not even the artist,” she maintained, adding that “I write my thing and it belongs to the people.” But it was also noted that her latest novel, “United States of Banana,” was published by AmazonCrossing, which offers translations of foreign-language books but comes from the online book-selling giant that traditional publishers and some writers see as wanting to dictate and control the financial terms of the book trade and destroy competition. She didn’t see it that way, saying that without Amazon, her book may not have been published at all.
In fact, some of the most compelling personal testimonies during the festival came from three writers who have spent much of their careers battling long-established forms of state-sanctioned censorship: Gabriela Adamesteanu in Romania; Mahmoud Dowlatabadi in Iran; and Ludmila Ulitskaya in both the Soviet Union and today’s Russia. On Thursday Mr. Dowlatabadi, for example, told a story of being jailed by the Shah’s secret police in 1974; on inquiring of his captors what offense he had committed, he was told none, but that because many opponents of the regime had been arrested with his novels in their possession, that automatically made him a dangerous element. A Saturday afternoon panel called “Life in the Panopticon: Thoughts on Freedom in an Era of Pervasive Surveillance” also seemed to promise a different look at contemporary problems of self-expression and the free circulation of ideas. The original panopticon was conceived of by the 18th century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham as a device that would allow a hidden observer to monitor all the members of any closed system without himself being detected — an apt comparison for our age of data mining for both national security and commercial purposes. The panel’s moderator was Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Washington-based Cato Institute, a libertarian advocacy organization whose donors include some of the country’s biggest corporations. His opening remarks and subsequent questions focused on the emergence of “the surveillance state,” largely glossing over the role that corporations play in the creation and maintenance of schemes of surveillance, and so it fell to other participants, like Catherine Crump of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Scottish science fiction novelist Ken MacLeod and Ms. Adamesteanu, to bring corporations into the discussion. But Mr. Sanchez also noted that discussion of the politics of surveillance often resorts to “a language borrowed from fiction,” notably the adjectives Orwellian and Kafkaesque. Because “we are in the grip of the Orwell metaphor” of Big Brother watching us — and as Mr. MacLeod added, us watching Big Brother on reality television—we tend to think of surveillance as something palpable and centralized, rather than the amorphous system it has become. Because “technology has torn down the walls of the Panopticon,” the time is right for a new, perhaps even more ominous metaphor, he suggested.