Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, and More to Appear at PEN World Voices Fest 2020

Margaret Atwood kicks off the festival on opening night. Photo: Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Celebrated authors Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Roxane Gay, and more are gathering in New York on May 4–9 for the 16th PEN America World Voices Festival. This year’s event is subtitled “These Truths,” a name festival director Chip Rolley explained in a press release:

“The crisis in truth in the American political sphere and a hallowed phrase from the U.S. Declaration of Independence were the jumping-off points for a festival that ultimately celebrates truth-telling on a wide range of topics and in myriad forms. We urgently need to hear the deeper truths afforded by literary fiction and by poetry, for literature to engage with contested histories and memory, and for journalists, historians and other non-fiction writers to present the world as it really is, to contest the fabrications served to us on an almost daily basis.”

Ah, yes, sounds like a job for Vulture staff writer Hunter Harris, who will be hosting a conversation with Little Weirds author (and comedian) Jenny Slate. Joining her on the festival docket is New York Magazine’s own Rebecca Traister, in conversation with Jia Tolentino. For anyone that still needs to hear the rest of the lineup: Margaret Atwood and Roxane Gay kick off the festivities on opening night. Then, Ishmael Beah, Mahogany L. Browne, Lydia Davis, Amitav Ghosh, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Jeremy O. Harris, Yuri Herrera, Jill Lepore, Lynn Nottage, Ben Okri, Elif Shafak, Danez Smith, David Treuer, Jeanette Winterson, Jamila Woods, and more will be at dozens of events across the city. On closing night, Zadie Smith, among others, will take the stage for a musical performance with Jon Baptiste. For more programming highlights and details, visit PEN America.

PEN World Voices Festival 2020’s Lineup Revealed