Meet the Curators

The 2022 edition of the PEN World Voices Festival was envisioned and assembled by a curatorial committee chaired by PEN America Senior Director of Literary Programs Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, alongside poet and translator Eloisa Amezcua; editor of Freeman’s and executive editor of Literary Hub John Freeman; writer, curator, and journalist Devyani Saltzman; and founder and former curator of the award-winning ALOUD series at the Los Angeles Public Library Louise Steinman. Upholding the festival’s long-standing approach to the power of storytelling as a change-making tool, these curators tapped wide-ranging voices from around the globe to help bring about new understandings to this moment of uncertainty and flux—often asking how, from here, we may shape our future.

PEN America’s World Voices Festival bridges global voices and ideas across languages and borders, revealing storytelling and literature in translation as radical changemaking tools. I am excited to see the 2022 curatorial committee’s collective ideation come to life this year.

Language is as fluid as the oceans that connect one continent to another. The PEN World Voices Festival reminds us that we—as writers, as readers, as audience—have an active role in defining the world around us, in shaping the spaces we inhabit, and in uplifting the voices that represent who we are and who we hope to become.

To a book person, having Pen World Voices in NYC every year is like tennis always coming to Wimbledon. It’s an embarrassment of riches. I can’t wait for this year as I know there will be such fireworks, all underpinned by a belief in liberation, in literature, in debate. My kind of game.

As we begin to emerge from the extreme loss and isolation of the pandemic, the value of empathetic exchange, gathering and dialogue at this moment of intense human flux seems so necessary. I hope these conversations are of service to readers, writers and multiple communities as we begin down the unknown road ahead.

There are no borders when writers from across the world gather to share ideas, stories, and ancestral wisdom. PEN World Voices is a bounteous offering to the Republic of Imagination, a beacon of hope and empathy in a world that often feels bleak.