7 Dutch authors at PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature


April 24-29, 2007

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise stated.

All free events are seated on a first come, first served basis.

Green Thoughts: Writers on the Environment

Tuesday, April 24, 7 PM - 8:30 PM
Cooper Union Great Hall: 7 East 7th St.

Homero Aridjis, Billy Collins, Jonathan Franzen, Moses Isegawa page 24, Pico Iyer, Geert Mak page 33, Marilynne Robinson, Roxana Robinson, Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, Colson Whitehead

Perhaps the most urgent crisis that we face on the planet is that of the planet itself. The effects of the destruction of the Earth’s natural systems reach across all boundaries of nationality, economics, religion, ethnicity, and language to touch each of us. In the opening event of the World Voices Festival, we’ll hear writers read from the work of other writers on the subject of the natural world. We’ll hear from other countries and other centuries; we’ll hear passionate, lyrical, and compelling voices raised in response to our gorgeous, mysterious, and imperiled earth.

Tickets: $15 / $10 PEN members / Smarttix: www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444.

History and the Truth of Fiction

Wednesday, April 25, 1 PM - 2:30 PM
New York University, Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East

Arthur Japin page 28, Laila Lalami, Imma Monsó, Michael Wallner; moderated by Colum McCann

Arthur Japin’s two novels are based on real people — Casanova, the infamous 18th-century lover, and Kwasi Boachi, a 19th-century African prince. Laila Lalami offers an authentic look at the Muslim experience of immigration today in her debut work of fiction, and Imma Monsó used writing a novel to confront the loss of a loved one. Michael Wallner takes us back to 1943 and the French Resistance. Join these writers for a discussion about how they came to use fact for fiction and base their work on actual people and events. With novelist Colum McCann, they will discuss whether there are aspects of history or of personal experience that are too sensitive for fictionalization, as well as probe the ethical dilemmas of using other people’s lives and stories for art.

At Home in Europe

Wednesday, April 25, 3 pm - 4:30 pm
New York University, Hemmerdinger Hall: 100 Washington Square East

Marguerite Abouet, Geert Mak page 33, Zafer Şenocak, Janne Teller, with Ilija Trojanow

Over the last decade, Europe has undergone some of the most radical changes in its recent history. These writers take a look at the impact of multiculturalism, migration, and economic and other social shifts, and discuss their implications for the stability of individual countries and the creation of a broader European identity. Ilija Trojanow has undertaken a reverse migration of sorts, leaving Europe to settle in various places in sub-Saharan Africa and then chronicling many of these far-flung corners of the world. Geert Mak is a journalist, historian, and author of (among other works) In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century. Janne Teller was educated as a macroeconomist and worked for the United Nations while living in places such as Dar-es-Salaam, Maputo, Brussels, and New York. Zafer Şenocak has written widely on the issues of diversity in Germany, the Turkish diaspora, and the short distances and large fears of a globalizing Europe. Marguerite Abouet left Abidjan, Ivory Coast at the age of 12 to study in France. Her graphic novel Aya details the promising, prosperous period of the 1970s in Ivory Coast.

Reading: The World Is a Book

Wednesday, April 25, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
192 Books: 192 10th Ave.

Lluís-Anton Baulenas, Abla Farhoud, Moses Isegawa page 24, Carlo Lucarelli, Per Petterson, Francine Prose

Crime lords and petty bureaucrats conspire to throw a country into turmoil. A city is ravaged by a war between proponents of inflexible ideologies. A tragedy leaves a society searching for answers and reassurance. We could be talking about Italy or Uganda, Spain or Lebanon, Norway or the United States, but each setting lends a special inflection to the story that unfolds there. Indulge your literary wanderlust with these writers who offer insight into both the importance of place and the constants of human nature.

Leaving Home as Rite of Passage

Wednesday, April 25, 6 pm - 7:30 pm
Small Press Center: 20 West 44th St.

Neil Gaiman, Isabel Hoving page 19, Janne Teller, Markus Zusak; moderated by Robert Lipsyte

Creators of a variety of works for young people discuss the way they treat the universal theme of striking out on one’s own for the first time. In Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, a little girl leaves her ordinary life behind only to find she’d rather go back. Markus Zusak was inspired to write The Book Thief by stories of the childhood homes of his parents in Munich and Vienna during the Second World War. The characters in Isabel Hoving’s The Dream Merchant are lured into another reality by an international corporation intent on cornering the market on the past. Beginning with a boy who leaves home to go sit in a plum tree, Nothing, by Janne Teller, recounts the quest of a group of schoolchildren for the meaning of life. They’ll be guided by award-winning children’s-book author Robert Lipsyte.

Multiple Passports: Writers on Homeland and Identity

Thursday, April 26, 1 pm - 2:30 pm
Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College: 695 Park Ave.

Adriaan van Dis page 8, Alain Mabanckou, Henrik Nordbrandt, Pia Tafdrup, with Ian Buruma

What do we mean by home? Can we take it with us? What is the role of language in helping us to find where we belong? Writers discuss home as a transportable notion and how it is affected by distance, time, and memory. Pia Tafdrup’s Territorial Song explores her Jewish ancestry through the topography, mythology, and history of Jerusalem. Adriaan van Dis’ frequently autobiographical work deals with the conflict between cultures, especially the Netherlands and its former colony in Indonesia. Alain Mabanckou was born in Congo-Brazzaville (French Congo) in 1966. From his current residence in Michigan, he continues to write in French on African life and politics. For the greater part of his adult life Henrik Nordbrandt had chosen to live far from Denmark in the Mediterranean countries of Turkey, Italy, Greece and Spain. Ian Buruma was educated in Holland and Japan and now writes about a broad range of political and cultural subjects for major publications. His most recent book is Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance.

Conversation: Geert Mak & Ian Buruma

Thursday, 26, 5 pm - 6 pm
Segal Theater, The CUNY Graduate Center: 365 Fifth Ave.

Geert Mak page 33 is the author of a number of works of nonfiction, including In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century. As a journalist and historian, he has brought to light the fabric of life in the countryside and cities of many nations around the world. With Ian Buruma, he will discuss Islam and Europe, the effects of immigration, and coming under fire from Dutch neoconservatives.

Conversation: Arthur Japin & Michael Orthofer

Thursday, April 26, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Housing Works Bookstore Café: 126 Crosby St.

Join Michael Orthofer, managing editor of The Complete Review, for a discussion with Dutch actor and best-selling writer, Arthur Japin page 28, about language, exile, identity, truth, fiction, and the real-life Casanova.

Dirty Wars

Thursday, April 26, 7 pm - 8:30 pm
Joe’s Pub: 425 Lafayette St.

Mark Danner, Dorothea Dieckmann, Arnon Grunberg page 13, Rose Styron, and others

Detentions without trial. Torture. Secret Prisons. Hallmarks of what were once called dirty wars and traditionally targets of U.S. criticism, these abuses of basic rights and international law are now touted as necessary tools in our own War on Terror. Leading writers from countries where justice has been disfigured in the name of national security join luminaries from the United States for a night of readings to end torture, arbitrary detention, and extraordinary rendition.

Tickets: $10 at the door / $8 for PEN and ACLU members

The Clouded Future of Journalism

Friday, April 27, 1 pm - 2:30 pm
Instituto Cervantes: 211-215 East 49th St.

Carlos María Domínguez, Carolin Emcke, Arnon Grunberg page 13, Vicente Verdú; introduced by Eduardo Lago

Newspapers struggling, new and old forms of censorship, attacks on journalists: a diverse group of writers ponder a troubled medium. Vicente Verdú contributes regularly to El País, where he is Opinion and Culture Editor. As staff writer for the foreign news desk of Der Spiegel, Carolin Emcke has written about war crimes and human-rights violations in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Colombia. Arnon Grunberg’s blog for Words Without Borders has included recent posts dealing with his travels through North and South America and a visit to the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Carlos María Domínguez has lived and worked in Argentina and Uruguay and his journalistic work has been collected in two books.

Imaginary Geographies

Friday, April 27, 3 pm - 4:30 pm
The Walter Reade TheatER, LincolnCenter: West 65th St. Between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.

Daniel Alarcón, Arthur Japin page 28, Tatyana Tolstaya; moderated by Deborah Treisman

Daniel Alarcón’s war-torn country in Lost City Radio reminds us of a number of nations in South America, particularly his native Peru, but it’s not any of these places. Tatyana Tolstaya sets The Slynx in a post-apocalyptic Moscow ruled by petty tyrants. Arthur Japin renders historical settings in visionary detail while re-imagining the events that happened there. These writers discuss how and, especially, why they invent — or re-invent — cities, towns, countries, and homes, and consider the responsibility of fiction to go beyond the merely real. We’ll be guided through these imaginary lands by The New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman.

Children’s Reading: Finding Peace

Saturday, April 28, 1 pm - 2 pm
The Rubin Museum of Art: 150 West 17th St.

Isabel Hoving page 19, Rita Williams-Garcia, Markus Zusak

When young people go out into the world, with all its unknowns, they must find and keep peace within themselves. Join international and U.S.-based best-selling authors for young people Isabel Hoving, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Markus Zusak as they share their stories of rising above strife and embracing one’s true self in this special reading for kids.

Free with Museum entry.

Conversation: Siri Hustvedt & Margriet de Moor with Adam Gopnick

Saturday, April 28, 2 pm - 3 pm
The Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey St.

Margriet de Moor page 38, award-winning Dutch author of Duke of Egypt and The Kreutzer Sonata, and Siri Hustvedt, author of What I Loved, discuss the intersections of music and literature; fiction as a tool for understanding historical truths; and what drew them to write about those who, by choice or necessity, have no fixed place to call home. They will talk to writer, essayist and longtime contributor to The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik.

Tickets: $5 at the door / PEN members free. Proper government-issued photo ID required. 21+

What’s So Funny?

Humor Out of Context

Saturday, 28, 3:30 PM - 5 PM
Tishman Auditorium, New School: 66 West 12th

Arnon Grunberg page 13, Ma Jian, moderated by Victoria Roberts

Does humor translate? Writers who have managed to get laughs in multiple languages discuss the pros and cons of divorcing humor from its original context, humor as a rhetorical and literary device, and the funniest things they’ve ever read. We’ll be guided through the gags by Nona, a kimono-clad, Australian octogenarian, who occasionally goes by the name Victoria Roberts, cartoonist for The New Yorker.

Internal Exile

Sunday, April 29, 2 pm -3:30 pm
Instituto Cervantes New York: 211-215 East 49th St.

Imma Monsó, Zafer Şenocak, Adriaan van Dis page 8

These writers have all been set apart within their own societies by heritage, language, or culture. While some have chosen, or been forced, to leave the country of their birth, others have found that remaining is no defense against a sense of alienation or exclusion. Join them as they discuss how feelings of exile have shaped their lives and their writing. Zafer Şenocak was born in Turkey but now lives in Germany, where he writes in both German and Turkish about the Turkish diaspora. Imma Monsó writes in Catalan in a country of Spanish speakers and in her latest short-story collection, Better Left Unsaid, addresses the silences that isolate each of us. Adriaan van Dis’ novel My Father’s War grapples with the legacy of Dutch colonialism and those it has left stranded between two worlds.

What Makes a Home?

Sunday, 29, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Instituto Cervantes New York: 211-215 East 49th St.

Alain de Botton, Margriet de Moor page 38, Carlos María Domínguez, Lee Stringer; moderated by Caro Llewellyn

Philosopher Alain de Botton’s latest book, The Architecture of Happiness, looks at the spaces we live in and why some make us feel happier than others. In her novel Duke of Egypt, Margriet de Moor explores notions of home and permanence among Europe’s Sinti and Roma peoples. For Lee Stringer, places such as Grand Central Station, shelters, and tunnels were his home for more than a decade, while Colombian writer Carlos María Domínguez writes about a house made of books in his latest novel, The House of Paper.