Friday, September 02, 2005

The following from Maggie Helwig:

PEN Canada book follows writers into exile at Cabbagetown Festival
Speaking in Tongues book launch and reading
Saturday, September 10, 4:00 pm
Fellini's Shoe, 226 Carlton., 416-923-7463, Free

Writers championed by international artists' aid group PEN Canada face many kinds of risks. They are caught in wars, imprisoned, intimidated by governments or gangs, working in exile, or living as refugees. But the risks don't end when they escape their homelands, leave refugee centres, or even when they arrive in Canada. The uprooting often jeopardizes careers, written work, and family life.

Speaking in Tongues: PEN Canada Writers in Exile is the latest collection from The Banff Centre Press and offers a voice for writers in exile who have re-established themselves as writers in a new land and a new language. On Saturday September 10, as part of the Cabbagetown Festival PEN Canada and Fellini's Shoe celebrates Speaking in Tongues with readings by Zdenka Acin, Goran Simic, Maggie Helwig, and others.

The collection's contributors explore the central theme of the transition between cultures and languages, and its effects on their writing. "The world changes in a day, but how do you explain this to people," says writer Stella Lee, who has been working from her home in Toronto to free her husband Jiang Weiping, a journalist held in a Chinese jail. "How do you translate the experience across cultures when you can hardly understand it yourself?"

Contributors include Zdenka Acin, Reza Baraheni, Alan Cumyn, Andrea Hila, Martha Kumsa, Stella Lee, Fereshteh Molavi, Faruk Myrtaj, Senthilnathan Ratnasabapathy, Benjamin Santamaria Ochoa, George Seremba, Goran Simic, and Mehri Yelfani.

The editor of Speaking in Tongues, Maggie Helwig, sits on the PEN Canada Board of Directors. PEN Canada works within Canada and internationally to promote freedom of expression and to aid writers persecuted for the peaceful expression of their ideas. The organization is working to establish partnerships to assist writers whose professional and cultural contributions have been imperiled by the need to leave their countries of origin.

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