Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times]
“The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.”[more inside]
Opera lovers embrace tree-hugger! Opera Australia presented Bliss, an opera based on Peter Carey's 1981 Kafka-esque novel last night. 'Carey's story was set in a tropical city that could well be Brisbane. And the idyll depicted in the final chapter of a free, clothing-optional, communal life seemed to mirror Carey's experience: the author and former ad man once lived on a commune at Yandina, north of Brisbane.' Harry Joy is an unlikely hero, 'a bit of an idiot really' but his tree-change journey is a timely one, and is garnering international interest. Australian mefites can watch Bliss live from Sydney Opera House next week on ABC2.