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The Diversity Test: Gender and Literature in Translation: A Guernica/PEN Event

April 26, 2010

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Claire messud.jpgJoin novelist Claire Messud and a prestigious panel for a lively debate on gender, culture, and literature in translation. In the 21st century, few writers want to be classified by gender, ethnicity, or the language in which they write. They’d prefer to be considered just writers now, mindful of Elizabeth Bishop’s observation on gender that “art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc. into two sexes is to emphasize values that are not art.” Of the Modern Library’s top 100 novels of the 20th century, only nine were by women (two by Edith Wharton). Like the Modern Library’s, most best-of lists include only works written in English. And less than one percent of literary fiction and poetry published in the U.S. are works in translation. Joining Messud are National Book Award winner Norman Rush, novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lorraine Adams , Israeli novelist Alex Epstein, and eminent translator Esther Allen who take on some of the toughest questions facing world literature today.

When: Monday, April 26

Where: WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, 44 Charlton Street, New York City

Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Tickets: $20/$15 PEN Members; www.ovationtix.com or (212) 352-0255. For Member discount code, please contact Lara Tobin at lara@pen.org or (212) 334-1660 ext. 126.

This Guernica program is co-presented by WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space and PEN.

*Previous Guernica/PEN programs include last year’s event honoring the late Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the 2008 discourse between Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Lévy on Darfur.

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You might also like

  • Bravery and Gender in “Confessional Writing”Bravery and Gender in “Confessional Writing” An evening with Guernica at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.
  • The Diversity TestThe Diversity Test Why were there only 8 women on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels of the Twentieth Century? Why is only 3% of the literature Americans read in translation?
  • Black Sheep & Exploding Turbans: A <i>Guernica</i>/PEN EventBlack Sheep & Exploding Turbans: A Guernica/PEN Event Europe is struggling to come to terms with its Muslim minority. What are the consequences of the intolerance and the violence for the continent and for literature? Join Paul Berman, Jamal Mahjoub, ...
  • Writers, Plain and SimpleWriters, Plain and Simple Women make up 80% of the fiction reading audience in this country. So why, guest fiction editor Claire Messud asks, are women authors so frequently left off the best-of lists, and left out of prest...

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