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LIVE from the NYPL: Confronting the Worst: Writing and Catastrophe PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature


April 16, 2005

Svetlana Alexievich, François Bizot, Carolin Emcke, Philip Gourevitch, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Elena Poniatowska; moderated by Susie Linfield

Some of the great writers of the late twentieth century (and the early twenty-first) have documented extremities of human suffering, including war, torture, genocide, and famine. What is the writer's role as documentarian, scourge to conscience and action, and moral witness? How has that role been affected by changing technologies, particularly photo- and video-journalism and the Internet? A diverse group of writers who have made distinguished contributions to this literature share reflections on writing about and on trying to grasp some of the most extreme horrors of recent history.

This event is presented in conjunction with the PEN American Center.