Saturday, May 10, 2008

PEN America World Voices Festival

The theme of the World Voices Festival this year was public lives, private lives. Salman Rushdie introduced eight writers from Hungary, South Africa, UK, Israel, Germany, Mexico, and U.S., who read in their native languages. It took all my concentration to watch the words scroll on a large black screen behind the reader especially when the scrolling didn't keep time with the words, but how wonderful it was to hear the languages and to see the writers come from many places.
Annie Proulx modestly read a short story by Irish Aidin Higgins who was not able to come because of fragile health. Here is a link. She read it beautifully.
Annie Proulx from Aidan Higgins’s Langrishe, Go Down

Most amusing was Peter Esterhazy's Celestial Harmonies, about his Austro-Hungarian family. Book one of the larger work is entitled ""Numbered Sentences from the Lives of the Esterhazy Family." Here is the first of many sentences.

1. It is deucedly difficult to tell a lie when you don't know the truth.

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