Talk to Me: Utopia and Dystopia at PEN

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

PEN's World Voices Festival brought Russian poet Inga Kuznetsova, Israeli writer Eshkol Nevo, Polish writer Andrzej Stasiuk and New York's own Jonathan Lethem together for a conversation about utopia and dystopia. The event was moderated by Albert Mobilio.

While the subject of idealized and dysfunctional societies may seem like it'd make for heady and heavy conversation, the discussion by the four writers was lively and funny. The chat had elements of any good piece of writing: it was specific, thoughtful and had direction. The unsung heroes of the event were the two translators for Kuznetsova and Stasiuk.

Use the player above to listen to the full discussion.

Bon Mots
Highlights from the conversation. Download the full audio above.

On Living in a Soviet Dictatorship: "I've been living for 30 years in this system, and it was a utopian system. I must say, it was mostly boring." –Andrzej Stasiuk

On the Conflict Between Israel and Palestine: "Utopia and dystopia meet in Israel any day, on a daily basis." –Eshkol Nevo

On New York: "There's plenty of unhappiness here.  It's our chief export, I think." - Albert Mobilio


Jonathan Lethem

Produced by:

Julia Furlan


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About Talk to Me

Talk to Me brings you downloadable readings and conversations with writers, artists, and scholars – from author Joshua Ferris to choreographer Mark Morris to poet Sharon Olds – recorded at cultural institutions in New York City and beyond. Stream, download, or subscribe to the full-length podcasts here.


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