Sunday, April 29, 2007

Overall Impression of the PEN Festival

I went to a few events last year so I have a little context to judge this festival. I thought that, overall, it was great. Last year they had a lot more problems: not enough time for the speakers to speak and cumbersome set-up of panels. Also, there was never any time for questions last year. This year there was time for questions, only not enough time. I think that they should tack on at least another 15 min. breathing room to make sure people don't walk away unsatisfied every time (as I did).

Also I liked the breadth of the panels. There seemed to be something for everyone. That's good. One thing that I noticed though was there were not enough people of color in the audience. At many of the events, I would look back to see that I was the only one in attendance. (I was surprised that there weren't more black people at the event with Saul Williams.) I think that this is a problem of marketing. They should try to reach out to people of color, as that will most certainly enrich the whole experience for everyone.

Overall I think that PEN is doing a fantastic job since the improvements in the events were so dramatic from last year. I'm sure that the next one will be even better. I, definitely, want to attend next year. I got a lot out of it.


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