1995-1996 indexDistributed March 6, 1996
Pens under the gun
Dissident, exiled writers will gather for Freedom to Write Conference
The "Freedom to Write Conference," March 19-22 at Brown University, will host dissident and exiled writers from around the world, along with representatives of human rights organizations. Among participants are Salman Rushdie and Carlos Fuentes. A schedule of events follows at the end of this release. An annotated version is available at the conference Web site.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University and the Graduate Program in Creative Writing will host more than a dozen dissident writers and activists from throughout the world, including Salman Rushdie, who will appear via electronic means, at the Freedom to Write Conference, March 19-22, in Sayles Hall and the Salomon Center for Teaching.
On Thursday, March 21, at 3 p.m. in Room 101 of the Salomon Center for Teaching, acclaimed Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes will moderate a panel of writers and human rights activists during a three-hour session. Using Brown's teleconferencing facilities, the Indian novelist Salman Rushdie will join other panelists in open discussion. Rushdie remains under an international death sentence, originally imposed by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian government in response to Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. The other panelists will include Gara LaMarche, executive director of Human Rights Watch, New York; Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, executive officer of PEN International; and dissident and exiled writers from Cuba, China, Turkey, South America and the United States.
One of the invited writers from Turkey, the novelist Yasar Kemal, was arrested recently and is standing trial with nearly 100 fellow Turkish dissidents. Because Kemal and others are unable to leave the country, the conference organizers have invited the Turkish writer Ilhan Arsel to tell their story. Arsel has himself been living under a death threat since the 1967 publication of his book Women and the Sharis.
At 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, March 19-20, participating writers will read from their work and discuss the difficult and dramatic situations under which they have lived and worked. These two readings, and a third on Wednesday, March 20, at 3 p.m., will take place in Sayles Hall.
Sayles Hall will also serve as the location for a multimedia display of human rights-related installations, art, underground magazines and books, video/photo and CD-ROM documentaries, computers "bookmarked" to freedom of expression information sites, and information booths and tables. This exhibition will be open from noon until the end of programming on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from noon until 3 p.m. on Thursday.
On Friday, March 22, in Sayles Hall, the conference will feature a day-long session on Chinese writing, with participants from the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong reading and discussing Chinese literature and freedom to write issues. After the introductory session, this event will be presented in Chinese without translation.
In conjunction with the Freedom to Write Conference, the Avon Cinema on Thayer Street will present "The Gate of Heavenly Peace," a three-hour documentary about China's Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989. The film will be shown March 19-20 and 23 at 1 p.m. Admission is $5. All other conference sessions are free and open to the public.