A recent survey reveals that NSA surveillance in the United States is having a stifling effect on many journalists and nonfiction and fiction writers. Out of concern they're being watched, writers are passing on public events, redirecting research, and muting some communications. Perhaps worst of all, self-censorship is becoming apparent. Learn more in this exclusive interview with Suzanne Nossel, the Executive Director PEN American Center.
Shaun Randol founded The Mantle in 2009. Today he is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher. You can email him at shaun [at] themantle.net. Shaun is the co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. He is also a Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City, and a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the PEN American Center. You can follow him on Twitter @shaunrandol, but you won't see much action.
At the Situational Junta, Work was put on trial
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect at the first Situational Junta. To find some sort of footing, I mulled over potential meanings for the chosen nomenclature: situational, junta. The title of the three-part artistic venture, for me, was politically charged. My kind of event.
The United States Department of Culture (USDAC) and the Associação Espaço Cultural Lanchonette (aka Lanchonete) are taking over the Bowery Poetry Club for a series of evening encounters and exchanges. The Situational Junta, as the multi-part event is called, is equal parts happy hour, radio talk show, creative mixer, and ideas incubator.
A Short Tale of Shame (Open Letter, 2013) is the first full-length novel from Bulgarian short story writer and critic Angel Igov. Ostensibly it is the story of the damaging connections shared by aged rocker—Boril Krustev—and a tight-knit threesome of high school graduates: Sirma, Maya, and Spartacus. Really, the emotions run deeper than any past misdeed may suggest.
Context matters. A work of art cannot be judged in a vacuum. It matters, for example, that Christo and Jeanne-Claude hung their orange curtains in Central Park, New York City: "The Gates," as the show was titled, would have a different (and equally valid and powerful) effect had those orange banners been strung across the Great Wall of China or the Sonoran Desert.
An interconnected world demands that we collaborate in the public sphere. Indeed, without this cooperation the public sphere would not exist, for it requires not just an action, but also a reaction. The speech is not a speech until it is heard. The rally is not a rally unless it is seen. The map is not a key until it is read. To exist, the public sphere requires a necessary but beautiful tension between all of us, all of us collaborators.