PEN World Voices: Ryszard Kapuscinski: A Tribute

April 29, 2007

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A celebration of the life and work of Ryszard Kapuscinski, visionary journalist and world-besotted fabulist, and one of the great travelers of the 20th century (true heir to his hero and subject of his last book, Travels with Herodotus). Kapuscinski was a living link between Bruno Schulz and Gabriel García Márquez, with whom he was still team-teaching classes to young Latin American journalists only a few years back.

Salman Rushdie, Philip Gourevitch, Adam Michnik, Lawrence Weschler, Carolin Emcke, and Breyten Breytenbach join together to contemplate the lasting significance of this Polish master and longtime PEN supporter, who died earlier this year in Warsaw at the age of 74. There will be readings by Elzbieta Czyzewska and scenes from Gabrielle Pfeiffer's documentary, A Poet on the Frontline: The Reportage of Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Curated by Philip Gourevitch, Lawrence Weschler, and Paul Holdengräber

This event is co-sponsored by PEN American Center in association with PEN World Voices, The New York Festival of International Literature; The New York Institute for the Humanities; The Paris Review, and The Polish Cultural Institute.



About Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay, India. He has served as honorary Vice-President, Member Trustee-at-Large, and President of PEN American Center. His novels include Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, and Shalimar the Clown. Rushdie has won the Booker Prize, the Booker of Bookers,? the Whitbread Prize, the Writer's Guild Award, the Aristeion Prize, and major literary awards in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. He was also a founder and first President of the International Parliament of Writers. He lives in New York City.



About Philip Gourevitch

Philip Gourevitch is the editor of The Paris Review and a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of A Cold Case and We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and in England, the Guardian First Book Award. Gourevitch traveled extensively for a decade, writing from Africa, Asia, and Europe, and in 2004, he was The New Yorker's Washington Correspondent, covering the presidential election. He lives in Brooklyn and is at work with the filmmaker Errol Morris on a new book about Abu Ghraib.



About Adam Michnik

Adam Michnik was born in Warsaw, Poland. He is one of Poland's leading journalists and former dissident, historian, writer, lecturer, and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, the first independent Polish daily newspaper. His books include Letters from Freedom: Post-Cold War Realities and Perspectives, The Church and the Left, and Letters from Prison and Other Essays.





About Lawrence Weschler

Lawrence Weschler was a staff writer at The New Yorker for over 20 years. His books include The Passion of Poland; A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers; Calamities of Exile; Vermeer in Bosnia; Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder; and most recently, Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. He is serving concurrently as director of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Chicago Humanities Festival. He is a contributing editor with McSweeney's and the Virginia Quarterly Review.



About Carolin Emcke

Carolin Emcke is a journalist, political theorist, and writer. She has a doctorate in philosophy and has been a visiting lecturer in political theory at Yale. As a staff writer for the foreign news desk of Der Spiegel, she has written about war crimes and human rights violations in countries around the world, among them Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Colombia. Emcke's book Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter, was named Political Book of the Year in Germany in 2005. In 2006 she was awarded the Ernst-Blöch-Foerderpreis, a German award given to scholars and philosophers of extraordinary promise. Carolin Emcke lives in Berlin.



About Breyten Breytenbach

A native of South Africa, Breyten Breytenbach is a painter, activist, and writer of poetry, novels, short-story compilations, essays, and dramatic works. From 1975 to 1982, he was a political prisoner serving two terms of solitary confinement in South African prisons. His most renowned work is the four-volume memoir of this odyssey: A Season in Paradise, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, Return to Paradise, and Dog Heart: A Memoir. Breytenbach's poetry collections include The Iron Cow Must Sweat and Footscript. His most recent poetry collection is Lady One. Breytenbach has been honored with many awards and has taught at the University of Natal, Princeton University, and the University of Cape Town.



About Elzbieta Czyzewska

Elzbieta Czyzewska first achieved acclaim as one of the foremost stars in the Polish sixties cinematic new wave, variously featured in such films as Andrzej Wajda's Everything for Sale and Wojciech Has's The Saragossa Manuscript. Following her emigration to America, she became a regular both on and off Broadway, starring in productions by directors ranging from Mac Wellman and Robert Wilson through Wajda and Martha Clarke. She also returned occasionally to Warsaw, starring, for example, in the Polish premiere of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation.