Salman Rushdie & Henry Reese

Fri, Aug 12
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Admission starts at: $30
Chautauqua Institution - Amphitheater & CHQ Assembly • One Ames Ave., Chautauqua 14722


One of the most celebrated authors of our time, Salman Rushdie is the author of 14 novels, four works of nonfiction and a collection of short stories, in addition to serving as co-editor of two anthologies. The winner of many of the world’s top literary prizes, Rushdie served as founding president in 1994 of the International Parliament of Writers (now the International Network of Cities of Asylum) — an organization formed to create structures capable of aiding and supporting persecuted writers, and what eventually became known as the Cities of Asylum Network. Rushdie returns to Chautauqua Institution for a special Chautauqua Lecture Series event exploring the Week Seven theme of “More than Shelter,” joined by Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum — the largest residency program in the world for writers living in exile under threat of persecution — for a discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

Rushdie’s works include including Luka and the Fire of Life; Grimus; Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and, later, the Best of the Booker); Shame; The Satanic Verses; Haroun and the Sea of Stories; The Moor’s Last Sigh; The Ground Beneath Her Feet; Fury; Shalimar the Clown; The Enchantress of Florence (which was a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection in 2010); Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights; The Golden House; Quichotte; and his memoir, Joseph Anton —named for the pseudonym he used while in hiding following the fatwa that had been issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in the midst of widespread controversy over Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. A former president of PEN American Center, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature, has been a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1983, and was appointed Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in 1999. His numerous other honors include the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers’ Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award.

Henry Reese is co-founder and president of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, which was founded in 2004 to provide sanctuary in Pittsburgh to writers exiled under threat of persecution. He led the growth of the organization and the evolution of its mission, which now includes numerous literary-based programs and place-based economic and community development through the arts. City of Asylum is also the U.S. hub for the International Cities of Refuge Network and is actively expanding the network of cities in the United States.

From 1974 to 2002, Reese was a co-founder and principal in Reese Brothers, the largest privately owned call center company in the United States prior to its purchase by a public company. The firm specialized pioneered new techniques in fundraising-educational telemarketing campaigns for social change non-profits, most notably for Mothers Against Drunk Driving from 1984 to 1996.

Reese is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and did graduate work at SUNY Buffalo in English literature and cognitive linguistics. He is a 2011 Purpose Prize Fellow and has served on the board of Archipelago Books, the National Federation of Nonprofits, and Cave Canem: A Home for Black Poetry. He is currently on the board of the International Cities of Refuge Network.

This installment of the Chautauqua Lecture Series is part of a larger partnership with City of Asylum in Week Seven. Details for a special Chautauqua Literary Arts program featuring City of Asylum writers-in-residence will be announced this spring.

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Salman Rushdie & Henry Reese

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Salman Rushdie & Henry Reese





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