Yang will be joined in conversation by author and PEN American Freedom to Write Fellow, Deji Olukotun (@dejiridoo), and the event will be moderated by Julie Buntin (@juliebuntin), Director of Programs & Strategic Outreach at the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP).
November 10 marked the 18th anniversary of the state execution of writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the ‘Ogoni 8’.
Not long ago, the Governor of our state in Nigeria said to the Ogonis: ‘Why can’t you people move on?’ The simple answer is that since Ken’s death in 1995 nothing has been done to stop the devastation brought about by unwanted, dirty oil extraction in our homeland.
In the 1950s, before Nigeria won independence, Shell was given the right to drill oil. Ken Saro-Wiwa, like me, was from Ogoniland, an area of the Niger Delta which, like many others, was destroyed by the reckless exploitation of international oil companies, in particular Shell. Saro-Wiwa’s tireless campaigning let the international community know about our struggle – the conflict, pollution, loss of livelihood, food and drinking water. Ken also gave us hope by inspiring us to mobilize against the military government and Shell.
A PEN Speak Out: Talking Transition—Sustaining New York as America’s Literary and Intellectual Capital
Tuesday, November 12, 6:30pm “Talk Tent” at Canal Street and Sixth Avenue, NYC Free and open to the public
Join us for an open-mic discussion of our city’s future as a literary and intellectual hub, part of the innovative, two-week initiative “Talking Transition.” Speakers include New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn Tina Chang, Publisher of OR Books John Oakes, Editor-in-Chief of Tin HouseRob Spillman, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America Alice Quinn, Ed Hirsch of the Guggenheim Foundation, translators Susan Bernofsky and Margaret Carson, and many others. We will also reserve some time at the mic for audience members to share their thoughts and hopes for the incoming administration’s policies and priorities when it comes to literary life in New York.
For more information, please visit the event page.