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Brook Wilensky-Lanford is the author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, 2011), and an editor of the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha. She received her MFA in Nonfiction from Columbia, and a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship funded by the National Endowment of the Arts in 2009. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Religion Dispatches, Salon, and Lapham’s Quarterly.  A copyeditor by day, Brook lives in Jersey City, NJ, with her boyfriend and two cats. 

Carol Bergman is a journalist whose feature articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Daily News, The Amsterdam News, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, Child, and many other publications. She is the author of two film biographies (Mae West, Sidney Poitier), a memoir, “Searching for Fritzi,” and the ghost of Captain Kangaroo’s autobiography, “Growing Up Happy.” Her creative nonfiction and literary fiction has appeared in Aim, Willow Review, Onionhead, Potpourri, The Bridge, and other literary journals in the US and the UK. “Objects of Desire,” published in Lilith and Whetstone, was nominated for the 1999 Pushcart Prize in nonfiction. “Another Day in Paradise; Frontline Stories From International Aid Workers,” with a foreword by John le Carré, was published by Orbis Books (US) and Earthscan Books (UK) in October, 2003. Her most recent books are a murder mystery, “Say Nothing,” and two books of novellas, “Sitting for Klimt,” and “Water Baby.” She teaches writing at New York University.

I’ve been attending the Festival since it began and always feel excited as it approaches. I’ve volunteered before, this year as a reporter, as my teaching term at NYU is just about over and I’ll have time.  A whole week in the presence of writers from all over the world seems the perfect way to refuel, to get my own creative juices flowing again. I always feel a strange resentment at the end of term: my students are writing a lot and I am not.

I plan to get down to Westbeth on Saturday to observe one of the Processional Arts Workshops and sincerely hope that we have pitch perfect weather for the Highline event on Monday.

On my blog The Great Gray Bridge, I’ve put up a preview post for visitors to my site and others who may not be familiar with World Voices, or don’t know it’s starting in just a few days. Mentioned the Margaret Atwood and Mona Eltahawy events I’ll be covering the night of May 3. Also, put a plug (below) for PEN in to my post and have shared the whole thing out via Facebook and Twitter. 

«PEN encourages active literary citizenship so if you are a writing or publishing professional, and have been considering getting involved, I suggest you do so. The international and domestic work PEN does on behalf of free expression is extremely effective and important.»

Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, if fellow Festival Correspondents are on FB and/or Twitter, please ‘friend’ or follow me there so we can keep track of one another before and during World Voices. On Fb, you can friend me at ‘Philip Turner,’ ‘like’ my blog The Great Gray Bridge, or on Twitter follow me at @philipsturner. Lilly at PEN has told me the Twitter hashtag we’re using for World Voices is #PENFest12. Thanks. 


In my first life I lived in a northern Italian city, on the Po River.  I taught Italian literature, history and Latin in high school, and ran the best bookstore in the city. 

Since 2008, living my second life in Brooklyn, I have written (in Italian) an historical novel and begun another set in the 1950’s.  With my American wife, I share the pleasure of playing with/in  two languages, translating Italian poets and prose writers.  My work has appeared in A Public Space, AGNI, West Branch, and other journals.  I am trying to update my cultural imprinting as an intellettuale organico,as the young Antonio Gramsci might have done—adjusting to the perception of a new global order/disorder that places me on the challenging, vital edge between depression and euphoria.  I love New York as the best place to make this effort, and consider the PEN World Voices Festival a terrific cultural event that could only be held here.