Pictures (and a story) from the festival
Funny story: At the short stories event last week, after the readings and the panel discussion, there was a question and answer session. A woman strode to the microphone and lambasted the assumption, which she felt had been reiterated by some of the panelists that afternoon, that the short story is a less important form than the novel. She mentioned having some experience with the form, as well as with novels and films, but no one-- including those on the panel and those who have written (quite thoughtfully, I might add) about the event-- seemed to realize that the woman speaking was Annie Proulx. (In fact, as she walked past my row and back to her seat, a well-meaning audience member sitting by the aisle bucked her up with an encouraging, "Good job," which I thought was awfully nice.)
So check out Beowulf Sheehan's terrific portrait on the left, and watch for her at a literary event near you. (I also appreciated Proulx's generosity in reading, beautifully, work by Aidan Higgins at the big Town Hall event.) And enjoy his lovely portraits of Michael Ondaatje, center, and Rian Malan, too. All these pictures-- and many more from the festival-- have been added to Flickr.
In other news, Paul Verhaeghen, who translated his own Omega Minor into English and won the Independent Foreign Fiction prize, is donating the money to the ACLU, as announced on his blog and reported by Three Percent. His reason: so that the ACLU can use that money "in their legal battles against torture, detainee abuse, and the silence surrounding it." The ACLU has worked closely with PEN in many of its Freedom to Write campaigns, which you can read about here.