PEN Dialogues at Open Book 2015: Lives of Writers and Russia Under Putin

08 Sep 2015
Mandla Langa, Andrey Kurkov and Masha Gessen

PEN South Africa has partnered with Open Book since its inaugural festival in 2011 and this year there will be two PEN Dialogues held at the Festival, both of which include Ukrainian PEN Vice-President and author Andrey Kurkov, who PEN SA has brought down for the Festival.

Mandla Langa, PEN SA Executive Vice-President and author, will be joining Andrey for the first PEN Dialogue and Russian/American journalist, activist and author Masha Gessen will be joining Andrey for the second PEN Dialogue. The talks will be hosted by PEN SA member Karina Szczurek and Pippa Green.

Lives of Writers
Date: Friday 11 September 2015
Venue: Fugard Annexe 1
Time: 20.00 – 21.00
PEN Dialogue: Andrey Kurkov and Mandla Langa talk to PEN SA member and author Karina Szczurek.
Cost: R45
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Russia Under Putin
Date: Saturday 12 September 2015
Venue: Fugard Studio
Time: 20.00 – 21.00
PEN Dialogue featuring Masha Gessen and Andrey Kurkov. Chaired by Pippa Green.
Cost: R45
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PEN Dialogue speakers

Andrey Kurkov

Andrey KurkovAndrey is the Vice-President of Ukrainian PEN and is a journalist, commentator and the author of 18 novels and seven childrens’ books and many screenplays. His latest book, Ukraine Diaires: Dispatches from Kiev, is a non-fiction account of the Euromaidan protests and the months that followed from November 2013 through to April 2014.

Read an excerpt from Ukraine Diaries as well as Andrey’s thoughts on the current situation in Kiev.


Mandla Langa

Mandla LangaMandla is an award-winning poet, short story writer, and novelist. He has been awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Bursary for Creative Writing (1991), South Africa’s National Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) (2007) and the Commonwealth Writers Prize in Africa for his novel The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2009). His latest novel, The Texture of Shadows, was published last year.

Read an excerpt from The Texture of Shadows and read Mandla’s recent letter to the PEN SA membership on the role of writers.


Masha Gessen

Masha GessenMasha is a Russian/American journalist, author, and activist who has written extensively on LGBT rights. She is the author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and Words will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy is her latest book.

Read excerpts from The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and browse her articles on Russia for The New Yorker.

(Images courtesy of The Moscow Times, Victor Dlamini and Masha Gessen)

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