Freedom to Create Virtual Keynote ft. Salman Rushdie and Russell BanksSunday, November 1, 2020 @ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Streamed on City of Asylum’s Virtual Channel. (Run-time 60 min) *please note 5:00 PM EST start time)
Our annual public forum on freedom of expression features renowned authors and founders of the Cities of Asylum movement Salman Rushdie and Russell Banks.
Purchase Rushdie’s & Banks’ books HERE
The virtual presentation starts with a conversation between Rushdie and Banks about the Cities of Asylum movement and their experiences promoting free expression and combatting censorship for writers and artists around the world. This will be followed by Rushdie reading from his most recent novel, Quichotte. The evening will wrap up with the world premiere of a new composition written by saxophonist Oliver Lake to a text from Rushdie’s Quichotte in honor of the occasion and performed by the Flux string quartet.
Salman Rushdie is the author of thirteen novels, including, Grimus, Midnight’s Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), and The Satanic Verses. His most recent work, Quichotte, was published in the Fall of 2019. Rushdie is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and four works of non-fiction. His books have been translated into over forty languages.
A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has received, among other honors, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award. He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities. Currently, Rushdie is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.
Between 2004 and 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center and for ten years served as the Chairman of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create. In 2008 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a Library Lion of the New York Public Library. Rushdie is a member of the North American founding board of City of Asylum Pittsburgh.
A prolific writer of fiction, Russell Banks’s many titles include The Darling, The Sweet Hereafter, Affliction, Lost Memory of Skin, and a collection of short stories titled A Permanent Member of the Family. He is also the author of Dreaming Up America, a collection of essays originally published in France. Banks has contributed poems, stories, and essays to The Boston Globe Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Harper’s and numerous others. His works have been widely translated and published in Europe and Asia.
His novels, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, were adapted into feature films which received widespread critical acclaim. In 2019 Banks wrote the libretto for an opera titled Harmony with music composed by Robert Carl which will premiere in summer 2021 at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake NY.
Russell Banks has received numerous awards, including the Ingram Merrill Award, the John Dos Passos Award, the St. Lawrence Book Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Banks was New York State Author from 2004 to 2008, and in 2014 he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from seven colleges and universities. Banks was president of the International Parliament of Writers and founder of the Cities of Refuge North America. He is also a founding board member of City of Asylum Pittsburgh.