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PEN World Voices announces 2011 lineup

February 23, 2011 |  1:11 pm

Laurie Anderson, Malcolm Gladwell, Hanif Kureishi, Cynthia Ozick, Deborah Eisenberg, Irvine Welsh, Francine Prose and Wallace Shawn are among the writers and performers who will participate in the PEN World Voices festival, it was announced Wednesday. Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in literature, will give the keynote address.

Scheduled to take place in multiple locations in New York City from April 25 to May 1, the PEN World Voices Festival is now in its seventh year. Salman Rushdie served as chairman, and it is the first year for new festival director Laszlo Jakab Orso.

More than 100 authors from 40 countries will participate, in events that include standard literary readings and conversations, including one focusing on the work and predicament of Chinese writer Lui Xiaobo, who remains in prison despite winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

There are also a few entirely different events, like the game of telephone slated to take place on the former-elevated-train-tracks-turned-pedestrian-parkway the High Line. Here's the festival's description:

“Karma Chain:” On the High Line in partnership with the Rubin Museum, a Tibetan lama will start a game of telephone and pass along sutras down a list of more than 200 Festival attendees. Salman Rushdie will receive the new teaching and Tweet it to all PEN’s followers.

As cool as all that sounds, I will have to skip it. Again, the PEN World Voices schedule conflicts with the L.A. Times Festival of Books, happening April 30 to May 1 right here in L.A.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Laurie Anderson performing in Santa Barbara, October 2010. Credit: Lawrence K. Lo / Los Angeles Times