“Literature provides shelter,” says Arundhati Roy at PEN World Voices Festival

Giving the 2019 Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN America World Voices Festival on May 12, Arundhati Roy asked the audience to consider the role of literature in today’s world.

“As we lurch into the future, in this blitzkrieg of idiocy, Facebook ‘likes,’ fascist marches, fake-news coups, and what looks like a race toward extinction,” she said, “what is literature’s place? What counts as literature? Who decides?”

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy

There is no single answer, she said. Rather, she approached this large question by sharing her own experience of being a writer and activist in recent years.

“The place for literature is built by writers and readers,” she said. “It’s a fragile place in some ways, but an indestructible one. When its broken, we rebuild it. Because we need shelter. I very much like the idea of literature that is needed. Literature that provides shelter. Shelter of all kinds.”

Read Roy’s May 12 speech here.

We join Roy in thanking PEN, one of our partner organizations, for, in Roy’s words, “the work it does to protect writers and journalists who are have been imprisoned, prosecuted, censored and worse.”






One Comment on ““Literature provides shelter,” says Arundhati Roy at PEN World Voices Festival

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