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Write Without Words, Write With Silence

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Organizer: Marziyeh Kameli

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In the literary realm, dialogue is often used as a remedy for conflict. At the same time, as Maurice Blanchot puts it in “The Paradox of Aytré”, “One of the most ancient wishes of literature is to write in order to reach silence.” Focusing on the implications of silence in literature, this panel welcomes participants who explore the ways in which an author writes with silence to make meaning. 

Though the seminar is not limited to any specific literary genre, it particularly welcomes authors who explore the implications of silence in prose form. The best advice a writer gets from William Saroyan, an Armenian-American author, “ is to draw one’s language not from language itself, but from silence and oneself. It is the only possible advice. Do not write with words, write without words, write with silence.” How does this advice work for people who use words as the mode and the mean of survival and as a way to act without being paralyzed by the oppressive structural forces that they face? How does drawing one’s language from silence and oneself reshape the inherited sense of what a story should do and what it means to be a writer?


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