On Exile and Language - World Literature Weekend 2010

Tahar Ben Jelloun has won wide acclaim for his novels, including Sacred Night and Leaving Tangier. His latest book of poetry, The Rising of the Ashes, responds to the war in Iraq. Atiq Rahimi, filmmaker and novelist, won the Prix Goncourt for The Patience Stone, in which a woman speaks uncensored to her comatose husband; through her story, Rahimi confronts female oppression in his native Afghanistan. Eli Amir’s book The Dove Flyer springs from his childhood experiences in Jewish Baghdad. The discussion was chaired by Adam Shatz, senior editor at the London Review of Books with interpreter Carine Kennedy.This event took place in association with English PEN, which exists to promote literature and its understanding, uphold writers' freedoms around the world, campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers for stating their views, and promote the friendly cooperation of writers and free exchange of ideas. PEN's Writers in Translation programme has, during the past five years, championed over 35 titles by writers from all over the globe, and supports the three speakers here.