Oakland Book Festival: Fiction and War

War writing is a form of testimony. In undertaking such work, journalists and novelists alike try to balance the real against the imaginary, while fulfilling their duty to telling the truth. How does one create a compelling and honest narrative out of the hideous and befogged accounts of war? At what point does bearing witness bleed into voyeurism? Panelists will address these and other matters around writing and conflict.

MARK DANNER has written about foreign affairs and American politics for more than two decades, covering Latin America, Haiti, the Balkans, and the Middle East, among other stories. He was for many years a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributes frequently to The New York Review of BooksThe New York Times Magazine, and other publications.

ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. His first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He resides in Oakland, CA.

NAYOMI MUNAWEERA’s novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was initially published in South Asia in 2012. It went on to be nominated for many of the sub-continent’s major literary prizes and won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia. St. Martin’s Press released the novel in America in 2014.

ANASTASIA EDEL (moderator) grew up in the south of Russia during the last years of the Soviet Union and is the author of Past Perfect. She has worked as a fiction translator for Empire Publishing and is a recipient of the British Government Chevening Award.

Panel discussion with Mark Danner and fiction writers Anthony Marra and Nayomi Munaweera as part of the first annual Oakland Book Festival at Oakland City Hall. 

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