PEN AMERICA, World Voices Festival … Gender and Power in the Age of Trump

“PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide.”

Join more than 150 writers and artists from 40 countries as PEN World Voices takes on today’s restive relationship between Gender and Power in the age of Trump. In this moment of unprecedented threats to freedom and truth and of emboldened mobilization and resistance the Festival will use the lens of literature to examine bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia. Celebrate the transcendent power of art to enable people to see beyond their differences with conversations, readings, and workshops taking place throughout New York City.”

PEN America has announced that leading Russian and American journalist and author Masha Gessen, will deliver the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, followed by a conversation with comedian and political commentator Samantha Bee on the closing night of the PEN World Voices Festival (May 7, 5 pm, Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs, NYC. Tickets/Details HERE).

My apologies for the late alert on this.  I just found out about it. However, there are three more days left on the schedule for PEN World Voices Festival. For a complete schedule of events, visit: (Programming and participants subject to change.) J.D.


May 7, 5 pm, Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs, NYC


Angelo Piro, the Digital Communications Assistant at PEN America.

This year the thirteenth annual Festival, taking place in New York from May 1-7, will address some of the vital issues of the Trump era, with a special focus on the fractious relationship between gender and power. At a moment of historic threats to freedom and truth, Ms. Gessen and Ms. Bee, both activists in their own rights, will speak to Gessen’s experience with Russian censorship and suppression of dissent, and parallels between the current administration and other authoritarian regimes.

Named for playwright Arthur Miller, an ardent advocate for free expression and longtime leader of PEN, the annual lecture is a hallmark of the Festival. In past years, the Freedom to Write Lecture has been delivered by Umberto Eco, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The event will take place at The Great Hall at Cooper Union on Sunday, May 7 at 5pm. Tickets for this and all Festival events are available at

Masha Gessen (b. 1967): Russian-American journalist, author, translator and activist, outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump

Masha Gessen is the author of ten books of nonfiction, most recently The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, coming from Riverhead in October. [The book is available for preorder.] Ms. Gessen is a contributing opinion writer to The New York Times and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, among other publications.

Samantha Bee (b. 1969) is a Canadian-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actress, media critic, and television host

Samantha Bee has quickly established herself as having one of the most unique and sharp comedic voices on television. Bee departed The Daily Show in 2015 and currently holds the title for being the longest-serving regular Daily Show correspondent of all time. In 2016, Bee received global and critical recognition from the success of her very own award-winning weekly late night comedy series, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

These are just a few of the other 150+ writers and poets presenting at this year’s Festival. If you are reading this post by way of an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view the slide show.

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About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

About the PEN World Voices Festival

Founded in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen, and Michael Roberts with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the U.S. and the world, PEN World Voices is the only international literary festival in America, and the only one in the world with a human rights focus. The Festival attracts the best-known writers from across the globe and has garnered international acclaim as a premier literary event. Since its founding 13 years ago, PEN World Voices has presented more than 1,500 writers and artists from 118 countries speaking 56 languages.

The Village Voice serves as official media sponsor of the 2017 PEN World Voices Festival.

The Festival is made possible in part through the generosity of Kaplen Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Embrey Family Foundation, Amazon Crossing, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Twitter: @PENworldvoices/#PENFest
Instagram: @pen_america

Thanks to PEN America and Angelo Piro for this piece, to Isabelle Deconinck for the slide show photographs and to reader Maureen D and to Tatyana at for the heads-up; photo credits, Masha Geeson courtesy of Bengt Oberger under CC BY-SA 4.0 license and Samantha Bee courtesy of Justin Hoch under CC BY-SA 2.0. Slide show photographs are under author or photographer copyright.

Broken English, a poem

ah-MEH- rrrrreeee – CA
……..America, he said
broken thoughts in broken English
this was circa 1957

That woman, she dreams that one.
And the Americans, they all dream.
The streets are lined with gold.

I think not …

She has no selvage, that one.

[referring again to the woman]

This was the furrier who lined his furs

[soft skins ripped from innocence]

with smooth, colorful, bright silk,
stitching the wild with the refined
in a relation strange and tortured.

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo of red fox furs is copyrighted fair use

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON FIFTEEN, Contribute to good causes:  “Be active in organizations, political or not, that express your own view of life Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. Then you will have made a ree choice that supports civil society and helps others to do good.” Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century