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PEN World Voices announces lineup

March 19, 2010 |  6:07 pm


The 2010 PEN World Voices literary festival will feature 150 writers from 40 countries. The festival's lineup includes literary fiction heavyweights Toni Morrison, Richard Ford, Salman Rushdie, Sherman Alexie, Elias Khoury, Roddy Doyle and Aleksander Hemon; musical icon Patti Smith and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.

In a series of panels and conversations around New York, authors will talk about a wide range of topics, including mythology, writing about torture and the future of journalism. There are big-ticket events, including a cabaret featuring Natalie Merchant; proceeds from ticket sales go to support the organization, which promotes the freedom to write around the globe. And many of the festival's events are free.

For the first time in my memory, the L.A. Times Festival of Books and PEN World Voices are not happening on the same days. This year, a literary jet-setter could spend the weekend of April 24 and 25 enjoying the sunny Festival of Books at UCLA, then pop over to New York for PEN World Voices from April 26 to May 2.

Those who can't can still catch a bit of PEN World Voices here on the West coast. Two authors -- Christos Tsiolkas and Asaaf Gavron -- will be appearing at the Festival of Books while they're in the U.S. 

Last year, PEN had a bounty of bloggers chronicling their panels and readings for those who couldn't be in New York.  It was almost too much to keep up with, but it was a nice way to vicariously enjoy the many, many offerings of PEN World Voices. I'm hoping they blog like crazy this year, too, but at the very least we can follow them on Twitter.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Left, Aleksander Hemon. Credit: Velibor Bozovic / Riverhead Books . Right: Melvin Van Peebles. Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders / HBO.