PEN Announces 2012 Winter Lecture Schedule

By Lucina Kathmann

The 2012 winter season of talks in English to benefit PEN International starts on Tuesday, Jan 17. There will be an event every Tuesday at 6pm in the Ángela Peralta Theater.

Literature: San Miguel PEN Lecture Series: Tuesdays at 6 pm

Jan 17, Eva Hunter

Jan 24, Lars Svanstroem

Jan 31, David Lida

Feb 7, Teresa Nicholas & Gerry Helferich

Feb 14, Austin Briggs

Feb 21, Elizabeth Starcevic

Ángela Peralta Theater

100 pesos each lecture

Starting the series on January 17 is Eva Hunter on “Becoming a Writer: From 8th Grade English Class to Artistry With Words.” Are writers born or are they built or is it a combination of both? Eva Hunter, author and writing coach, will use selections from popular writers like Tom Wolfe, Cormac McCarthy, Joan Didion and Michael Ondaatje to illustrate how those we consider tremendously talented are actually using specific principles of craft that may be emulated.

The following week, on January 24, Lars Svanstroem will speak on “Day of the Dead: Ethnohistory with Photos.” Lars’ beautiful photos of customs in indigenous areas have inspired a whole museum in his native city of Stockholm, where now every year there is a well-attended observance of Day of the Dead.

On January 31, David Lida, very popular writer on the “real Mexico,” will return to San Miguel to talk about “Mexico Noir: A Cosmopolitan Journalist Finds the Dark Side of Provincial Mexico While Seeking Justice.” This is about David’s work as a mitigation specialist trying to keep death penalties from being carried out.

On February 7, Gerry Helferich and Teresa Nicholas will talk as “Book Partners: Living Together, Writing Together.” This year Teresa barely finished a round of presentations of her novel Buryin’ Daddy when Gerry’s new book, Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. They will tell about what life is like these days in their very literary household and read from their new books.

On February 14, the speaker is Austin Briggs, professor emeritus of Hamilton College, on “Ezra Pound: My Fascist/Traitor/Lunatic/Anti-Semite/Genius Poet.” Pound was a graduate of Hamilton College. Austin said, “I want to discuss my decades of trying to figure out how to deal with a genius whose writing and vast services to others (Joyce, Yeats, Frost, Hemingway, etc.) I deeply admire but whose fascism and virulent anti-Semitism I loathe.”

On February 21, Elizabeth Starcevic will give the final talk of this year’s series, “What’s New in Latino/a Writing in the United States.” Elizabeth, also President of San Miguel PEN, is a retired professor of Spanish from City College of New York. As a teacher of students whose native language is “home Spanish” but whose knowledge of hispanic literary tradition lags far behind, she is a specialist in writers who “tell it like it is” for the hispanic young people of the diaspora. She will be talking about Hispanic New York, what it’s like and what it is doing today.

The contribution of 100 pesos goes to help San Miguel PEN intervene for endangered writers around the world all year long.

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