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

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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; or (212) 352-0255. For Member discount code, please contact Lara Tobin at 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.

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

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