So, before I (very happily) lose myself in the rushing literary waters, a few notes:
The recipients of this year’s PEN awards have been announced. Among the winners: Cynthia Ozick, Sarah Ruhl, Kimiko Hahn, Dalia Sofer, and many more…
The indispensable Complete Review flags this piece from the Lebanese Daily Star about The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran—which has just issued a statement that writers wishing to be published in Iran must censor themselves. As it happens, we have a great short piece by Iranian novelist and story-writer Shahriar Mandanipour about just this sort of thing in PEN America 8.
A choose-your-own-adventure story from Mohsin Hamid (via Amitava).
Lastly, the PEN gala was last night, and I’ll try to flag some coverage of it later. Toni Morrison gave a stirring acceptance speech for the PEN/Borders Literary Service Award, and a wonderful Iraqi translator who goes by the pseudonym Ahmed Ali spoke movingly about fleeing Iraq and re-locating, eventually, to Atlanta, with the help of PEN’s Larry Siems. There was also a heartbreaking video tribute to this year’s PEN/Barbarba Goldsmith Freedom to Write honoree, Yang Tongyan, who is currently incarcerated in China.
Though not quite so important, another satisfying part of the evening was hearing nice things about the journal from Nathan Englander (who raved about the Etgar Keret stories and the George Saunders piece) and Gary Shteyngart (who described it as “muy caliente”) and Sidney Offit (who praised the Grace Paley tribute), among others. If you haven’t already, check it out (or just subscribe).
Update: Coverage of the gala here, here, here, and here.