Blog Archive: May 2015

Blog Archive: May 2015

The Power of PEN

The Award to Charlie Hebdo Isn’t About Freedom of Expression

On April 27, Salman Rushdie tweeted, “The award will be given. PEN is holding firm. Just 6 pussies. Six Authors in Search of a bit of Character.”

He was referring to the Freedom of Expression Courage Award that PEN was bestowing on the magazine Charlie Hebdo at PEN’s gala on May 5. And the six authors he chose, in an extravagantly misogynistic move, to call ‘”pussies”? They were Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi. They had withdrawn as gala table hosts for PEN in protest of the award being given to Charlie Hebdo.

May Lit: Two Poems by Sally Wen Mao

For May, we bring you two poems by Sally Wen Mao. These two poems are part of a series of poems Mao has written, imagining Anna May Wong flying through history in a time machine, revisiting various points in history and meditating on how her life and career might have turned out differently. The poems are imaginative and heartbreaking, commenting on race and gender and conveying the longing and anger of a woman who yearned to transcend the boundaries of her time while highlighting to us the ways in which, perhaps, the world has really not changed all that much.