Established to combat the growing cloud of American isolationism after 9/11, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature aims to further the organization’s dedication to the freedom of expression through literature and art. This year, the festival has been organized under the chairmanship of Colm Tóibín, and it is the first time in its 11-year history that the content will be focused on a single region of the world. Co-curated by Festival Director László Jakab Orsós and Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the program will explore African literature and art — or at least, a fraction of what the vast and diverse continent has to offer.
This year also sees the inclusion of a workshop titled “Queer Futures,” the first time that queer writing will be explored on its own. The event reveals cutting-edge discussion of the continent’s LGBT movements, and participants include Zanele Muholi, a South African visual artist, with a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum; Binyavanga Wainaina, a Kenyan author and journalist; Shireen Hassim, a professor of political studies in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Kehinde Bademosi aka Kenny Badmus, Nigerian entrepreneur and writer. Continue reading