PEN World Voices Festival

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature returns April 28-May 4, 2014 for its 10th anniversary edition.  The festival will host a week-long series of readings, debates, performances, and workshops with more than 100 celebrated writers from 30 nations who have taken artistic and political risks in their work. Participants will include Salman Rushdie (who founded the festival), Geoff Dyer, Martin Amis, Lydia Davis, Shirin Neshat, Luc Sante, Judith Thurman, Francine Prose and many others. Festival Director László Jakab Orsós states, “This year, we dedicate the Festival to those brave enough to raise their voices from this precarious place, as we celebrate our colleagues and fellow citizens working to inspire change.”

Our 2014 PEN World Voices Festival Picks:

On the Edge, April 28, 7pm

The Festival kicks off with an event featuring performances and readings by socially-conscious writers and artists from around the world including Adonis (Syria), Yahya Hassan(Palestine/Denmark), Sofi Oksanen (Finland), and Colm Tóibín (Ireland), as well as a special video presentation by political cartoonist and puppeteer Gado (Kenya), at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union.

A Literary Safari, April 29, 6:30pm

For the fourth year, Festival audiences are invited to wander the halls of Westbeth, the city’s oldest and largest artists’ community, in search of cozy, apartment-based literary readings by Kevin Barry, Christopher Farley, Justin Go, Frédéric Gros, Gabrielle Selz, Wesley Stace, and Linn Ullmann, among others. The evening concludes with a closing night party in Westbeth’s legendary gallery.

Obsession: Eileen Myles on Spoilage and Ruination of Other Kinds, April 29, 9pm

New York City’s own great and fierce poet will open up about her fear of the constant danger of things going bad or spoiling—and the moral component accompanying this simple fact of biology. For the first installment of the Obsession series, Myles talks milk and bread, AND sexuality and its consequences too, at Chez André, The Standard, East Village.

1971, April 30, 7pm

PEN American Center continues its work to shine a light on intrusive government surveillance with a screening of Johanna Hamilton’s documentary, “1971,” about a group of radicals who broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania and leaked files on the agency’s illegal surveillance of law-abiding Americans. Betty Medsger, whose recent book The Burglary looks at the 1971 robbery, will join the filmmaker and two of the men involved in the incident for a post-screening discussion, at the NYU Cantor Center.

Global Food: Over the Edge, May 1, 7pm

A debate moderated by Frederick Kaufman and featuring Lester Brown, Marion Nestle, and Robert Paarlberg will give wide-ranging perspectives on the use of food as a global weapon exploring the growth of agribusiness versus small farms, the future of biotech crops, and the influence of climate change and Wall Street on the global food market, at The Auditorium at The New School.

The Literary Mews, May 2, 10am-7:30pm

Global bazaar meets county fair at this second annual festival within the Festival held as a free, all-day event. Discover a world of literature and music on NYU’s beautiful Washington Mews.

Obsession, May 1, 2, 3, 9pm

The late-night conversation series returns to The Standard, East Village, exploring the ideas that keep writers awake at night followed by a discussion with an expert on his or her obsession. Writers and their obsessions include Emily Bazelon on Childhood Demons (May 1), Dan Savage on Plaques and Trophies (May 2), and Masha Gessen on Citizen-Victims (May 3).

Interview Magazine: The Re-Interview, May 3, 7:30pm

Interview Magazine and PEN present a one-night only experiment in the fluctuations of identity. Martin Amis will be re-interviewed with the original questions posed to him by the magazine three decades ago. He will be asked to answer these questions again today and critique his earlier responses, at The Auditorium at The New School.

In Conversation, May 4, 4pm

Renowned author and Festival founder Salman Rushdie will discuss the importance of freedom of expression with Timothy Garton Ash, a scholar and tireless advocate for free speech and the advancement of literature, presented in association with The Public Theater.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit