[CANCELED] Fighting Words: Language in Times of Tyranny

Panel Discussion
07 May 2020
7:00 pm-8:30 pm
The Center for Fiction
15 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

There are already so many examples of popular phrases being rooted in unpopular and even terrible truths. “Changing hearts and minds” was first used to justify US colonization of the Philippines. Today, a “Clean Air” Act might hide a law that allows factories to pollute more. Certain news outlets falsely claim to conduct “fair and balanced reporting.” Where else are words being hollowed out? Join John Freeman, Mieko Kawakami, and Elif Shafak as they discuss how language operates in the public sphere in their societies. They single out the words that still have the power to upend dialogues where the greater good is under siege.

This event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please stay tuned for updates about future PEN World Voices Festival programming.

Elif Shafak
Mieko Kawakami
John Freeman

Event Sponsors


The live events of the 2020 World Voices Festival have been canceled due to concerns about the safety of participants and audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early May, we launched the 2020 digital World Voices Festival at pen.org/worldvoicesdigital. This ongoing digital version of the Festival includes a suite of podcasts, videos, interviews, and musical playlists, with live events and other features to be rolled out over the coming weeks. We hope this digital content brings you joy during a time of uncertainty.

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