PEN Haiti is hosting its first international Free the Word! Festival from April 20th- 22nd, with a special series of events taking place in the Institute Français (Port-au-Prince) and the Alliance Française (Gonaïves).
The programme of events for Free the Word! Haiti will include discussions on issues such as freedom of expression in times of crises (‘La Libre Expression en Temps de Crise’), women’s writing and free speech (‘Paroles de Femmes, Paroles Libres’) and an examination of the work of PEN International in promoting freedom of expression (‘L’engagement du PEN International pour la liberté d’expression’).
The event is co-sponsored by PEN Haiti, PEN International, and PEN American Center in conjunction with several local affiliates.
No literary series on Haiti would be complete without a celebration of Haiti’s vivid oral culture. Participants will engage in a session of Krik? Krak!—a Haitian storytellers’ ritual of warming up their audiences by asking “Krik?” and taking the collective response “Krak!” as their cue to begin to tell stories and jokes. Join these renowned writers for this very special happening where stories yet to be defined will take shape.
PEN is honored to have two-time National Poetry Slam Champion Roger Bonair-Agard join us for the Free the Word! Festival (April 20-22) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti!
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Bonair-Agard immigrated to the United States in 1987 and has since appeared three times on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and worked extensively with youth around the country through poetry organizations such as Urban Word (NYC) and Volume (Ann Arbor). He is the co-founder and artistic director of the LouderARTS Project in New York, and his latest book of poems, GULLY, was published in 2010.
New York City, April 13, 2012—PEN Haiti is hosting its first international Free the Word! festival from April 20 to 22, with a special series of events taking place in Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves. Free the Word!, PEN International’s network of literary festivals around the world, celebrates the best of contemporary literature and aims to introduce readers to both established and emerging writers. Each festival is rooted in its local culture, but is international in outlook, and seeks to bring together writers from across cultures to share experiences and explore ideas.
Panel at the Biblioteque (library) of Gonaives, Haiti at PEN Haiti´s Liberez la Parole festival. From left: Jean-Euphele Milce, president of PEN Haiti, Deji Olukotun, PEN American Center / PEN International, Emmelie Prophete, PEN Haiti, Georges Castara, PEN Haiti, and Fritz Dorvilier, a Haitian Senator.