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Jennifer Clement
Writer, President of PEN, International World-wide Association of Poets, Essayists and Novelists Read More ...
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So Far from God
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The sad reality of human trafficking, and especially the trafficking of girls, in Mexico was at the center of award-winning writer Jennifer Clement’s dialogue with students at NYU Florence on September 22, 2014 – Walking on the Bones of Shadows. The story of Ladydi, the main protagonist of Clement’s magnificent Prayers for the Stolen, provides insight into the reality lived by many girls who grow up in the shadows of the drug cartels and human traffickers in rural Mexico.

Clement shared stories from the 11 years of research she undertook while developing and writing the book; the stories of women survivors, those who had been stolen off the street or from their homes, and lived to tell their stories; women locked up in a woman´s prison whose desperation or madness drove them to commit the unspeakable. All of these stories put a human face on what had, until then, remained shocking headlines for many in the audience.

What role and what responsibility does the writer have in giving voice to these stories? In making these women visible? What role does art play in political and social engagement? Clement shared some thoughts on the political and social dimensions of her work and how writing can be a form of social protest. Clement also addressed elements of her craft. She emphasized her search for the poetic, even in the darkest circumstances, and how the poetic evokes the universality of human experience and allows people, a world away, to connect with ´the forgotten women of Mexico´.

Clement followed her Dialogue with a writing workshop for students, meeting with them in a small group, delving more deeply into the craft of writing, and providing students feedback on short pieces they produced together.

“If Charles Dickens with Oliver Twist managed to change the laws that made martyrs out of poor English children and Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, helped the women of England be- come property owners, or the way that Garcia Marquez placed Latin America on the world stage with One Hundred Years of Solitude let’s hope that Prayers for the Stolen changes the condition of Mexican and Central American girls who are stolen and trafficked for sex...the impact of Prayers for the Stolen could be fundamental in the life of the women of our continent.”
- Renowned Mexican journalist and writer Elena Poniatowska, recipient of the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2013

 
 
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Program
 

Dialogue: September 22

6:00pm Introduction Dina Juan

Walking on the Bones of Shadows: The Experience of Writing Prayers for the Stolen Dialogue with Jennifer Clement

7:30pm Question & Answer session

8:00pm Reception

Writers Workshop: September 24-25 (open to students only)

 
 
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A Freshman's Take on the Dialogue with Jennifer Clement
Last night’s dialogue was a new experience for me: as a freshman I had
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