Learning to Speak

That was an excellent reading & panel yesterday (see my post for last wednesday) around the Language for a New Century anthology. Could have used an other hour (or two) for the discussion on the anthology after the readings, but I’m sure that discussion will happen somewhere, sometime. If I can get to the city in time, I will check out the following panel tomorrow:

Learning to Speak. With Jean Hatzfeld, Xiaolu Guo, Halfdan Freihow, and Carme Riera. Chaired by Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times.
Saturday, May 3, 2008, 5:00 PM at The French Institute, Alliance Française: Tinker Auditorium (55 East 59th St.)

Xiaolu Guo writes of learning to speak English in her delightful and funny novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. She talks about the sometimes funny, other times poignant and heartbreaking moments that occur between two people who don’t always quite understand what the other is saying. Halfdan Freihow has to place every word carefully and precisely when he speaks to his autistic son, Gabriel. The wrong word, or the right word in the wrong place, can result in severe fractures in his little boy’s life. Jean Hatzfeld, acclaimed journalist of wartime Rwanda, has helped the traumatized people of Rwanda tell their stories. Through the works of Hatzfeld we can hear the voices of the survivors and those of the killers to better understand the tragedy of the war there. Carme Riera, Catalan novelist, will share different perspectives of her own experience: as a women emerging from the Franco years, as a Catalan writer following the repression under the Spanish dictatorship, and as an author who recovered the memory of the Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th Century.

Tickets: $12/$8 FIAF/PEN members/students. Visit www.Ticketmaster.com or call (212) 307-4100.

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