School of Arts and Sciences

Point Park Professor Speaking at Prestigious Prague Writers' Festival

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Pictured is Channa Newman, Ph.D., professor of French and global cultural studies and chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. | Photo submitted by NewmanChanna Newman, Ph.D., professor of French and global cultural studies and chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, will be a featured speaker at the prestigious Prague Writers’ Festival to be held Nov. 10-15 in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Prague Writers’ Festival is an internationally acknowledged gathering of authors and readers taking place annually, usually in Prague, and is considered among the best literary festivals in the world. 

The theme for this year’s festival is “The Fire Next Time” after the James Baldwin novel of the same name. Since its founding in the 1970s by American poet Michael March, the festival has hosted seven Nobel Laureates, seven Man Booker Prize winners and five Pulitzer Prize winners.

"It’s my hope to bring the Prague Writers’ Festival back to Pittsburgh in the future."

-- Channa Newman, Ph.D.


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Newman will present a talk at the festival on “Trump and Identity Politics.” According to Newman, “Identity politics is a strategy to mobilize the so-called left to work for the cause of the right. Exposing this strategy is important to understanding what is happening on the American political scene today.” 

In addition to Newman, other voices at the Prague Writers' Festival will include American authors Affinity Konar, Joseph Kanon and Wesley Lowery, and Inderjit Badhwar of India.  In addition to Newman’s public lecture, she will also be on stage as a moderator in a discussion with Joseph Kanon.

An interview Newman conducted with Kanon is featured on the Prague Writers’ Festival website in both Czech and English. Newman also serves as a translator for the North African writers featured in the festival. 

It was through her efforts as the festival’s director of international programs that Point Park University hosted the Prague Writers' Festival in 2013. That gathering featured the late author E. L. Doctorow and included Indian-born novelist Anita Desai and Egyptian author, playwright and journalist Hamdy El-Gazzar. It was the first time the festival took place in the United States.

“It’s my hope to bring the Prague Writers’ Festival back to Pittsburgh in the future,” Newman said. "The response of the Point Park community and Pittsburgh in general to the authors, discussion and ideas shared was overwhelmingly positive.” 

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