PEN 2014

Joanna Scutts

Chris Haddix

Shaun Randol

Chris Haddix

 

The death of theory, not unlike the end of history, has, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, been exposed as an embarrassingly premature announcement.

Shaun Randol

Rue de Paris, Temps de Pluie (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte

[Read part one of this dispatch here.]

I had intended on discovering the literary scene in the Caribbean with only a slight side trip for the briefest of philosophy discussions, but the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray when one encounters Frédéric Gros.

Shaun Randol

I found myself on a windy and rainy evening at the Westbeth Center for the Arts, a massive warren of beautiful apartments crammed full of writers, dancers, visual artists, actors, poets, and other artistic folks. For what the PEN World Voices Festival deemed a Literary Safari, several of these creative-types opened their apartments and hosted visiting writers in mini-salons, where the scribes read for fifteen minutes and answered questions for another fifteen, and then whoosh!

Shaun Randol

Paul Berman reads at PEN World Voices Festival's opening night as Salman Rushdie and Judith Butler look on (© Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center)

[Read part one of this dispatch.]

Shaun Randol

Shaun Randol

Since the 1960s, Noam Chomsky has been a formidable critic of U.S. foreign policy; many (most?) of his ideas highly unwelcome in corporate media. Though the decades march on, his biting critique remains sharp, his political philosophy unwavering. In this interview, Chomsky discusses self-censorship and names the political crises intellectuals and activists should be acting on now. 

Shaun Randol

Something is being lost in our age of physical and metaphorical din. Political leaders, pundits, activists, journalists, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens are engaging in shouting matches in all forms of media, including social media platforms. The most radical act one can take at this moment, says George Prochnik, is to engage in a patient, reflective retreat from all the noise. A more empathetic society may emerge from the quiet. 

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