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ARC @ 2018 PEN World Voices Festival

New York

PEN America presents the 2018 PEN World Voices Festival: Resist and Reimagine, this year’s incarnation of the renowned international literary festival, which will bring together the world’s foremost authors and other luminaries at a time when many are turning to literature and the arts not for escapism, but as a guide to navigate contemporary crises. Salman Rushdie founded the festival in the isolationist aftermath of September 11, 2001, to fortify links with the rest of the world; now again the need to connect and draw inspiration from beyond America’s borders is pressing. PEN America Festival Director Chip Rolley explains, “For the first time in its history, we are deliberately training the Festival’s wide lens on America itself, probing the fissures and inconsistencies in our own culture, alongside those of writers visiting from overseas. We will examine different kinds of resistance—the internal and the external, the political and the personal—and tap into the imagination that is at the core of the best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, joining together in a week that reaffirms our faith in the power of the word to transform our society, our politics, and our daily lives.” 

ARC is presenting four events during the Festival this year.


Artists take the Street!

Thursday, April 19, 2018
6:30–7:30 p.m
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street

From a single sticky note at a subway stop to the largest one-day protest in U.S. history to mark Trump’s inauguration, expressions of public protest can take many forms, with art playing a crucial role. Artists Amy Khoshbin and Tania Bruguera, along with writer A.M. Homes, explore opportunities for creativity in activism and detail their work, which shares themes of cultural and familial identity, immigration, and human fortitude under extreme duress. They delve into the collaborative project, Word on the Street, curated by Khoshbin, and investigate the symbiotic relationship between art and social change. Moderated by Carmen Hermo, Assistant Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Co-presented with Times Square Arts, The Watermill Center, and House of Trees.

Free event, registration required!  


Literary Quest: Westbeth Edition

Friday, April 20, 2018
6:30–10:00 p.m
Westbeth Artists Housing, 55 Bethune Street

Experience the artist’s life in one of New York’s leading artist housing communities. The artist-residents of this cultural institution open their homes for intimate, salon-style readings and conversations with Festival authors, followed by cocktails in their legendary gallery. With Nachoem Wijnberg, Rupert Thomson, Ashley Hay, Susan Kuklin, Basma Abdel Aziz, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Trifonia Melibea Obono, Sharon Bala, Demian Vitanza, Alicia Kopf, Hadi Nasiri, Kanchana Ugbabe, Ayse Kulin and Leni Zumas. Co-presented with the Westbeth Artists Residents Council and the partners of the New York Safe Havens Prototype.

General Admission: $20


Liminal States

Saturday, April 21, 2018
2:30–4:00 p.m
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street 

Transitions can be powerful or they can be disconcerting, delirious or even dangerous. Whether they are across national borders, across cultures, or across sexual identities, reconciling the old and the new can be accompanied by pain or by joy, or lead to a new awareness and identity. In her debut novel, Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi explores how the West and traditional Igbo culture can inform identity. Kanchana Ugbabe, an Indian author who has found refuge from the violence in her hometown in Nigeria, writes of the dual vision of the insider and outsider. And in Disoriental, filmmaker and author Negar Djavadi, who fled from Iran to France with her family at age 11, writes of the need to “disintegrate” before you can integrate into a new culture. Powerful fiction and memoir give us insights into the threshold spaces of culture and identity these women occupy. Co-presented with Fordham University. 

General Admission: $15  


Theater and Creativity in the Underground

Saturday, April 21, 2018
7:30–8:30 p.m
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street 

In societies and cultures as diverse as Russia, Tunisia and Belarus, theatre can provide a powerful forum that challenges the status quo and places political activism at its core. Tunisian playwright  Meriam Bousselmi’s work has challenged the victimhood often assigned to Arabic women in the East and the West. And in Belarus and Russia, provocative productions by Belarus Free Theatre and Teatr.doc have been subject to crackdowns and restrictions.

Join three courageous and award-winning practitioners working on the sharp edge of politically engaged theater as they explore the common themes and challenges in their work – including the ever-present threat of censorship and political repression. With Varvara Faer, co-founder of Moscow’s Teatr.doc, Natalia Kaliada, founding co-artistic director and CEO of Belarus Free Theatre, and Tunisian playwright Meriam Bousselmi. Moderated by Jessica Litwak of  The H.E.AT. Collective.

General Admission: $15  

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