All-virtual rethinking of PEN America’s landmark event series features Yaa Gyasi, Roxane Gay, Ayad Akhtar, Ben Rhodes, Claudia Rankine, Marilynne Robinson, and Alexander Chee
Earlier this month PEN America announced its fall lineup for its PEN Out Loud author conversation series. This season, reimagined virtually for our current times, will continue its mission to present meaningful dialogues, highlighting books that offer multilayered, thought-provoking conversations on race and class, immigration and family at a particularly divisive moment.
PEN Out Loud’s fall 2020 season will feature conversations with Yaa Gyasi and Roxane Gay, Ayad Akhtar and Ben Rhodes, Claudia Rankine, and Marilynne Robinson and Alexander Chee. PEN Out Loud is co-presented with Strand Book Store and Scripps Presents.“We’re delighted to offer up a rethinking of our PEN Out Loud series, not just for our all-digital moment, but rather rethinking how conversations are happening in our current all-digital moment,” said PEN America’s Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf. “But we’re still holding fast to our belief that PEN Out Loud is the hallmark national literary series that amplifies diverse voices and convenes the most vital conversations with poets, journalists, artists, and activists.”“We’re delighted to be partnering on the PEN Out Loud series. PEN America’s mission to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible is vital, most especially in this moment,” said Corrina Lesser, artistic director of Scripps Presents.PEN Out Loud Fall 2020 Lineup We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know*
Yaa Gyasi, author of the forthcoming book Transcendent Kingdom, in conversation with Roxane Gay
Tuesday, September 1 at 5pm PT/8pm ET *This is a book launch event America Is My Home*
Ayad Akhtar, author of the forthcoming book Homeland Elegies, in conversation with Ben Rhodes
Tuesday, September 1 at 5pm PT/8pm ET *This is a book launch eventJust Listen
Claudia Rankine, author of the forthcoming book Just Us: An American Conversation, with a conversation partner to be announced
Wednesday, September 30 at 5pm PT/8pm ETGuilt and Grace
Mariynne Robinson, author of the forthcoming book Jack, in conversation with Alexander Chee
Tuesday, October 6 at 5pm PT/8pm ET
Tickets on sale now . . .
PEN Out Loud’s mission remains focused on amplifying diverse voices and convening vital conversations with authors, poets, journalists, artists, and activists.
This fall, these conversations are in direct response to the very specific moment we’re in culturally and politically. In the lead up to the 2020 presidential elections, the whole society is wrestling with the legacy of slavery, a reckoning with police brutality, the consequences of health and economic disparities in the midst of a pandemic, and attacks on press freedom and democracy.
Each author this season examines the fabric of our culture with deft insight and illuminates a wide range of themes such as whiteness, faith, interracial love, midwestern and southern culture, depression, and immigration.
$20 Admission | $35 Admission + Signed Book* * $50 for international shipping
Flash sale until September 7. Use the code FLASHPOL at checkout.
The content of this post is courtesy of PEN.org.
The New Republicis an official media partner of PEN Out Loud’s Fall 2020 season. This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
PEN Americastands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
“The International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF) is an iconic art for human rights platform, A haven of freedom voices. This global Human Rights and Arts Culture Activism brand is endowed with creative excellence, artistic diversity, versatility, and organizational prowess. On the 23 April 2020, before this beloved Earth got dressed in night gowns and before owls began to announce their deathly anthems, I sat with Artistic Curator and Producer Thomas Block of IHRAF beside the digital bonfire, somewhere near the fontanel of the internet jungle. Thomas Block brought with him ripe IHRAF berries, a jug of fermented literary gin and an artistic lantern. Mbizo Chirasha wielded a pen, a green-leaf writing pad and of course a poetry waxed voice box. It is encouraging to discuss and archive excellence. Thank you, Thomas Block and the IHRAF Team for the good work and for affording us this great opportunity to enjoy the succulent IHRAF berries.” Mbizo Chirasha, Editor, Brave Voices Press and IHRAF 2019 Fellow
1.) MBIZO CHIRASHA: GIVE US AN OVERVIEW OF THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ART FESTIVAL.
THOMAS BLOCK: The International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF.ORG) provides a forum to international artists whose voices can be overlooked, underrepresented and, in some cases, actively repressed. We offer live performances in all media, a literary magazine, an award, a recording platform, and a yearly International Fellowship. These represent the most important voices safeguarding the ideals of human rights and social justice: those whose only weapon is their passion, commitment and beauty.
The IHRAF not only provides these artists visibility, but it highlights the most important issues facing our societies: how to safeguard and expand human rights, social justice, democracy and equality, in all countries around the world. We are especially drawn to artists around the world who promote these ideals through their dedication to truth and beauty.
We use the energy of this art to engage with stakeholders at all levels, including politicians, social leaders, NGOs and activists on the frontline of the struggle for truth and justice.
We have worked with artists and activists from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Gambia, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Haiti, Martinique, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, Italy, Germany, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, Sioux Nation, as well as most of the United States.
The IHRAF has presented more than 500 artists in twenty interim events and three week-long Festivals, all in New York City. Additionally, IHRAF has published more than fifty writers on the IHRAF Publishes literary platform. The organization has been covered more than thirty times in press outlets, including the New York Times, NBC TV Live!,Fox 5 Good Morning, Metro-NY, Huffington Post, Crain’s NY Business, New York Observer, Voice of America: Mandarin, AM and many others.
2.) MBIZO CHIRASHA: WHAT DIFFERENTIATES IHRAF FROM OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS, ARTS ACTIVISM, AND FESTIVAL PROJECTS?
THOMAS BLOCK: Founded in 2017 at Dixon Place Theater in New York, the IHRAF is already the largest human rights art festival in the world. While there are nearly fifty human rights film festivals, very few art-activist organizations focus in an ongoing manner on performance of all types, including dance, theatre, music, spoken word, circus and any other method of bringing art and soul to a live audience.
Additionally, we separate ourselves from other arts-activism projects by our engagement with decision makers, from our honorary co-sponsors in the political realm (many United States Senators and Congresspersons), to our work with governmental agencies such as the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
We have also developed and implemented a number of other year-round, international manners of using art in the struggle for human rights and justice. Our “IHRAF Publishes” platform publishes weekly art-activist literary work. Our “Creators of Justice Literary Award” will highlight the best activist writing from around the globe. Our “International Fellow” program highlights the work of a single art-activist every year, as well as introducing the IHRAF to their audience. Lastly, through our Direct Action component, we help artists-at-risk, whose activities have put them in harm’s way with their own, often repressive governments.
Taken together, we offer a unique manner of bringing artists’ voice and social change together. And as we expand our programming, visibility and outreach, we will spread these voices of truth, beauty, sincerity and engagement ever-wider.
3.) MBIZO CHIRASHA: IHRAF PUBLISHS IS FAST GROWING AND SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCING THE GROWTH OF ARTS ACTIVITIES. WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PROSPECTS OF IHRAF LITERARY PUBLISHING?
THOMAS BLOCK: This is a very exciting aspect of our work — and we have published more than fifty pieces from around the world. We currently publish work — poetry, essays and short stories — on a weekly basis, as well as inaugurating the Creators of Justice Literary Award, which will offer monetary awards and publishing opportunities to the winners.
We are also working on two anthologies: an online anthology of the best youth writing (under twenty-one), edited and produced by our Youth Fellow, Uma Menon, as well a print anthology of some of the best writing that we have published, from what will then be nearly 100 pieces to choose from.
The literary arts are central to the struggle for human rights, as well as reaching diverse and far-flung audiences. We are excited about the growth of IHRAF Publishes and look forward to offering more initiatives under its banner in the future.
Video: Buwaso Ibrahim Razack – Dear God – Old folk for new poets; Music by Fernando Fidanza for International Human Rights Art Festival
4.) MBIZO CHIRASHA: SUMMARIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CREATORS OF JUSTICE LITERARY AWARD
THOMAS BLOCK: The Creators of Justice Literary Award highlights the best activist literary work from around the world. We look for work based in our signature values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and engagement. Words spoken from the mouth never get past the ears, but words spoke from the heart, enter the heart. We provide a voice and transparency for writers who are underrepresented, repressed and sometimes in personal danger due to their unflinching commitment to using their word to support and further Truth. We are honored by the work we have received, and as the Award submission period remains open until June 1, we hope to receive many more beautiful submissions!
The International Human Rights Art Festival announces the creation of this new literary award, celebrating poetry, short stories and essays which use the written word to celebrate justice.
This ideal may be imagined in any manner in which the writer sees fit, however, it must be based in our signature values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and engagement. We do not publish work or engage with artists whose work is based in anger, or stems from an “us v. them” mentality. We feel strongly that all human conflict is representative of human spiritual immaturity — and no group of people, ethnicity or religion are immune from human spiritual immaturity.
There are three monetary prizes in each category: Poetry, Short Story and Essay. Each writer may make one submission in each category (total of 3 submission per writer). Awards are as follows:
First Prize: $150
Second Prize: $100
Third Prize: $50
Honorable Mention: 5 writers will have their work published on IHRAF Publishes
All winners and honorable mention writers will be considered for our IHRAF Publishes Anthology 2019-2020, which will be collected and published in summer 2021.
The oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry, announced that the safety of staff and community remains it’s top priority and that during these unprecedented times, they continue to monitor and heed the guidance of local and national officials. Based on the most recent guidelines from the Center for Disease Control they’ve decided to cancel all programming and remain closed to the public through May 15, regretful because April is National Poetry Month, a time for celebrating the community of poets, artists and performers.
Poetry Foundation will continue April’s celebrations across digital platforms and suggests that whether you’re a newcomer to reading poems and looking for a place to start, or a lifelong writer seeking fresh engagement with poetry, the Foundation will have something for you.
The BeZine will celebrate April as International Poetry Month, themed pandemic but we are suggesting a wide-range of subject material under that heading. I will publish more details sometime tomorrow. Submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org (Please note this is our new email address.) / J.D.