City of Asylum to launch Pittsburgh’s first International Literary Festival

City of Asylum Pittsburgh announced the first annual Pittsburgh International Literary Festival (LitFest)—a 10-day event starting on May 12, 2021 that considers themes of migration, identity, and displacement with an emphasis on works in translation. This festival continues the organization’s work protecting and celebrating creative free expression with a diverse array of more than 30 speakers, representing 20+ countries in over 14 languages.

LitFest 2021 includes primarily live, virtual programs—allowing City of Asylum to connect artists and audiences from around the world and continue to build a community around literary arts and global exchange.

“Pittsburgh is a city with a rich literary tradition. This festival—the first of its kind in the city—celebrates that tradition, while cementing City of Asylum’s role as a regional hub for global and marginalized voices,” states City of Asylum’s Executive Director Andrés Franco.

The roster of programs for LitFest includes Nobel Prize-winning authors, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and translators, a premiere multi-media performance, and an international book launch. Main features include

  • “We Crossed the River,” a new music concert created by Music on the Edge at the University of Pittsburgh with raw testimonies collected at the US/Mexico border by novelist Angie Cruz.
  • El.Ella.Elle. Translation, Pronouns, & Inclusion in Argentina
  • Nobel Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk discusses her award-winning book Flights as well as her forthcoming “magnum opus” The Book of Jacob.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and his newest novel The Committed
  • Japanese author Mieko Kawakami and translators of Breast and Eggs, one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best Books of 2020. LitFest 2021 includes the launch event for Kawakami’s highly anticipated new novel Heaven.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet/translator Forrest Gander with Mexican poet Coral Bracho and their new work It Must Be a Misunderstanding.

City of Asylum is committed to producing literary programs that encourage cross-cultural exchange. It brings authors, translators, and artists together for bilingual readings, conversations about the craft of translation, and conversations centered on the intersection of translation and important social justice topics. Topics include BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) representation among translators, linguistic inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the politics of publishing, among others.

For additional details on LitFest visit the event website at alphabetcity.org/litfest21.

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