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Standing Before History: Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa at PEN

May 4, 2009

guernica_pen.jpgKen Wiwa, Jr., Okey Ndibe and Richard North Patterson discuss the legacy of Ken Saro-Wiwa at the Pen World Voices Festival. May 2, 2009.

For the full audio of the event go “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/audio/Saro-Wiwa.mp3.

On November 10, 1995, Nigeria’s military dictatorship hanged Ken Saro-Wiwa, one of the country’s most acclaimed and popular writers and the leader of a grassroots environmental movement in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta. The region still seethes with unrest and many of the issues Saro-Wiwa gave his life to raise will be the subject of a lawsuit opening in New York on May 26 against oil interests for complicity in his murder.

On May 2, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, Guernica co-presented an event honoring the late Saro-Wiwa. Performance poet Sekou read from a Saro-Wiwa play with Steve Connell; Ken Wiwa, Jr. and author Richard North Patterson conducted a conversation about Saro-Wiwa’s life and legacy, and about Patterson’s new book Eclipse, a fictionalized portrayal of events leading up to Saro-Wiwa’s death

The conversation was introduced by PEN’s Freedom to Write Director, Larry Siems, moderated by Guernica contributing writer Okey Ndibe, and closed with Guernica Editor-in-Chief Michael Archer reading from Saro-Wiwa’s final statement, which he made before he was hanged by the Nigerian military court.

A transcript of the event will be available here “www.GuernicaMag.com”:http://www.guernicamag.com/ on May 15.

Listen to the event broken out by program “here”:http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3240/prmID/1831.

A background video on the case below:

For more information please visit:

“PEN American Center”:http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3240/prmID/1831

For more about the case against Shell, please visit:

“Wiwa v Shell”:http://wiwavshell.org/

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