PEN Picks highlights notable literary and advocacy events in New York City and around the country. With three different literary festivals and great author readings, the upcoming week will give you plenty to do.
Front parchment pastedown, now detached, with offset from the manuscript visible on the boards. Both the front and rear pastedowns came from the same medieval manuscript and are now detached from the boards. Photo by Pete Smith.
Rear flyleaf: It’s difficult to tell exactly how the spectacles left their impression, but they must have been sandwiched between the two parchment endleaves for an extended period of time. Photo by Pete Smith.
This second rear flyleaf contains the most visible trace of the spectacles. Upon very close examination and under special lighting one can see the rivet used to join the two halves of the spectacles together at the bridge. Photo by Pete Smith.
Rear pastedown: the impression from the spectacles shows faintly through from the other side. Photo by Pete Smith.
Aleksandar Hemon, writer-in-residence at the United Nations
Over the past few months, it has been the stomping grounds of Aleksandar Hemon, a Bosnian-born, US-based writer, assigned to write a book about the United Nations by a not-for-profit organization known as Writers in Residence. Born in Sarajevo, Mr. Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a matter of months. His home town came under siege and he was unable to return home. The 47-year-old wrote his first story in English in 1995 and has had several works published since then, with two of them becoming finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States.
What shapes a novel beyond its beginning, middle, and end? Does structure trigger narrative? Author of 2011’s genre-defying, A Visit From The Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan has said of her process, “I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s the price you pay for doing something different every time.” The Pulitzer Prize–winning Egan explores the role of structure in writing and reading, sharing her perspective on the “rules” and her process in bending them.
This event took place as part of the 2012 PEN World Voices Festival.
Co-sponsored by The New School for Social Research
I had the pleasure of listening to a lively panel moderated by Aleksander Hemon at the PEN World Voices Festival.Titled Best European Fiction, after the jewel of an anthology of which Hemon is the editor, the panel included contributors Patrick Boltshauser, Robert Gal and Noelle Revaz, as well as Martin Riker, Associate Director at Dalkey Archive Press, which publishes the anthology.
The overarching theme of the at-times humorous discussion revolved around language, citizenship and the gap that frequently exists between mother tongue and nationhood and how this impacts the writer’s identity.Hemon probed each of the panelists to speak about how they reconcile the often-contradictory impulses that spark their writing.
PEN President Peter Godwin: “We are disappointed Eskinder Nega’s ordeal didn’t come to an end today with the acquittal he deserves. The trial proceedings only reinforced the baselessness of the charges against him, and the court’s explanation for the delay in issuing a verdict—that it needs another six weeks to transcribe the record—does little to inspire confidence in the court’s workings.
“We ask the world to join with us in pressing the Meles government to bring the unjust persecution of Eskinder Nega and his fellow journalists in Ethiopia to an end.”