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In the cavernous auditorium of the 92nd St Y, a large audience hung on every word uttered by the petite Herta Müller. At first soft-spoken, she told more of her personal life, than she had a Deutsches Haus earlier in the week. As the evening progressed, her answers became more impassioned and she appeared like a small eagle - powerful and focused.

Language is nothing without humans, she said, and then it can do anything. Writing is hard work, as life is one thing and language another; it is hard to force words to truly express your meaning.

Her question is always: how does one live?

Writing gave her stability and helped her to endure life; it became her work.

Codes are a way of hiding. They can be the language of fear.

Lies are hideouts. In a dictatorship, you can’t even call them lies, as they are necessary for survival.

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penamerican:

Herta Müller and Claire Messud in Conversation

May 4, 2012 | 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center | New York City

In her first New York appearance in over a decade, after a reading from her forthcoming novel The Hunger AngelHerta Müller is interviewed by another literary titan, Claire Messud. This event took place as part of the 2012 PEN World Voices Festival.

  PHOTO GALLERY | View the photo gallery on Flickr