The PEN and the Sword

Salman Rushdie in The New York Times:

Rushdie583_1  In January 1986 I came to New York for a gathering of writers that has become a literary legend. The 48th Congress of International PEN, the global writers’ organization dedicated to spreading the word and defending its servants, was quite a show. As one of the younger participants I was more than a little awestruck. Brodsky, Grass, Oz, Soyinka, Vargas Llosa, Bellow, Carver, Doctorow, Morrison, Said, Styron, Updike, Vonnegut and Mailer himself were some of the big names reading their work and arguing away at the Essex House and St. Moritz hotels on Central Park South. One afternoon I was asked by the photographer Tom Victor to sit in one of the park’s horse-drawn carriages for a picture, and when I climbed in, there were Susan Sontag and Czeslaw Milosz to keep me company. I am not usually tongue-tied but I don’t recall saying much during our ride.

More here.