One-on-one conversations between writers are among my favorite festival events -- and we’ve featured several of them in PEN America: George Saunders and Etgar Keret, Aleksandar Hemon and Rabih Alameddine, Elias Khoury and Nuruddin Farah. (Our next issue features a terrific conversation between Colum McCann and Michael Ondaatje.)
This year’s festival features several intriguing pairings, perhaps none more intriguing than Enrique Vila-Matas with Paul Auster:
For years Enrique Vila-Matas and Paul Auster have been engaged in an extended literary conversation, spanning continents and several languages. And in the ingenious short story by Eduardo Lago, which borrows its title, Brooklyn Trilogy, from Auster, the two are even brought together as fictional characters. Two years ago, they met in person for the first time and discovered that they do, indeed, share many common obsessions.
For more on Vila-Matas, the place to go on the web (besides his own website) is Conversational Reading.
Other conversations I’m particularly excited about: Richard Ford talking with Nam Le (if you haven’t read any of Nam’s work, read this); Adrian Tomine with Yoshihiro Tatsumi (a great Tatsumi story appears in PEN America 10); Mark Z. Danielewski with Rick Moody; and Péter Nádas with Daniel Mendelsohn (whose long essay on Susan Sontag’s journals I hope to read soon).
See also: Music @ World Voices
PS. Other interviews and one-on-one conversations to look forward to: Nawal El Sadaawi & Anthony Appiah; Meir Shalev & Daniel Menaker; Neil Gaiman & Caro Llewellyn; David Grossman & Philip Lopate; Domenico Starnone & Antonio Monda; Sebastian Barry & Roxanne Coady.