From May 6 – 12, PEN America will present the “2019 PEN World Voices Festival: Open Secrets,” which will focus on the dissolving boundary between the public and the private in the literary, cultural, social, and political realms. In 60+ events in dozens of venues across New York City, the 15th anniversary edition of the festival will gather fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, translators, thinkers, and activists who will talk about what we withhold and what we reveal, as well as the opportunities and dangers inherent in the rapid reconfiguring of the public and the private. Among the main ideas to be discussed: the flowering of the genres of literary memoir and personal testimony, accompanied by increased digital avenues for story-telling, revelation, and exposé before both designated and public audiences; movements like #MeToo and continuing reports of abuse within religious organizations, which have demonstrated the political velocity of deeply personal revelations, surfacing suppressed experiences and forcing society-wide reckonings; ways in which personal narratives and individual stories have become catalysts for social change. For a full list of events, visit PEN America’s festival page.
Image courtesy of PEN America.