Home 5 News 5 PEN America Cancels World Voices Festival Amid Gaza Protests

PEN America Cancels World Voices Festival Amid Gaza Protests

by | May 9, 2024 | News

PEN America has cancelled what would have been the 20th edition of its World Voices Festival because of writers pulling out in protest at the organisation’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  The festival was scheduled to take place May 8-11 in New York City and May 8-16 in Los Angeles.

 

PEN America points out that a central feature of the planned festival was to have featured multiple Palestinian writers, enabling them to speak not just about the war but about their own books and works. “We regret that this is not possible,” it said.  “We are grateful and express our deep sadness to the dozens of writers who voiced their commitment to remain in events, traveling from around the country and the globe.”

 

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said:  “PEN America exists to unite writers in defence of free expression.  The premise of World Voices is to engage across wide chasms of worldview and belief, including fostering direct conversation between and among those who disagree profoundly.  We share the anguish over the loss of life and devastation of the war.

 

“We are listening to our critics.  Over the last seven months, we have consistently taken and will continue to take steps to strengthen the core of our work: to support writers and stand for free expression.  We now face a campaign that casts our struggle to reflect complexity, uphold our identity as a big tent organization, and show fealty to our principles as a moral abdication.  The perspective that engaging with those who hold a different point of view constitutes an impermissible act of legitimization negates the very possibility of dialogue. It also betrays the essence of PEN’s charter and mission to dispel hatreds and engage writers and literature as a catalyst for empathy and a bridge toward common ground.”

 

Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, PEN America’s Literary Programming chief officer, said:  “We are committed to hosting a Town Hall convening in the near future to create a space to wrestle with the issues gripping the literary community and our own organization.  We will welcome all of those slated to be Festival participants as well as PEN America members to be part of this event, and will  share details on that soon.”

 

 

 

Recent News

23May
Alice Oseman’s Auction Supports Gaza Aid Efforts

Alice Oseman’s Auction Supports Gaza Aid Efforts

Alice Oseman, bestselling author of the YA Heartstopper books, has raised nearly £20,000 for children in Gaza in a special auction organised by Save the Children.  Not Alone: The Alice Osman Fundraiser for Children in Gaza included Alice Oseman bookplates and Heartstopper enamel pins as well as ‘signed and doodled’ Alice Oseman books.  Save the […]

23May
‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

The 2024 International Booker Prize has been claimed by “Kairos,” a poignant German novel delving into a tumultuous love affair set in 1980s Germany. Authored by Jenny Erpenbeck and masterfully translated by Michael Hofmann, this literary gem captivates readers with its exploration of love against the backdrop of political turmoil.   Eleanor Watchel, chair of […]

23May
Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

  A letter describing the contents of Lord Byron’s lost memoirs revealing how he “set his mind to evil” has been discovered in a university library. It was written by Elizabeth Palgrave, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1823 after a visit to a publishing house. The “bad boy” poet gave his memoirs to a friend […]

Related Posts

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

The 2024 International Booker Prize has been claimed by "Kairos," a poignant German novel delving into a tumultuous love affair set in 1980s Germany. Authored by Jenny Erpenbeck and masterfully translated by Michael Hofmann, this literary gem captivates readers with...

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

  A letter describing the contents of Lord Byron's lost memoirs revealing how he "set his mind to evil" has been discovered in a university library. It was written by Elizabeth Palgrave, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1823 after a visit to a publishing house....

Healing Fiction: A New Genre Emerges

Healing Fiction: A New Genre Emerges

We’ve had chic lit, cosy crime and romantasy – now make way for ‘healing fiction’, the latest genre to be identified by publishers.  In a fascinating article in the Bookseller, Justine Taylor, managing editor at the Zaffre Publishing Group, described healing fiction...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest