Video: Liao Yiwu Performs at Exiled Voices of China and Tibet
On June 8th City of Asylum/Pittsburgh hosted Exiled Voices of China and Tibet, a historically groundbreaking event that brought together exiled writers, musicians, and dissidents, including City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s first writer-in-residence, Huang Xiang. Also participating in the event were writer Liao Yiwu, Independent Chinese Pen Centre president Tienchi Martin-Liao, Tibetan rock group Melong Band, and lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Throughout the day-long event, these people were able to speak out about their country and their experiences there, something they were unable to do in China.
Liao Yiwu performed his poem, “Massacre,” forcing open the memory and aftermath of the Tiananmen Square killings of 1989. He follows this reading with a musical performance with his singing bowls. Paul Guggenheimer, of Pittsburgh’s NPR, read translations of Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker before sitting down with the author and engaging the audience in a conversation about China and freedom of speech.
Liao Yiwu is a Chinese author, reporter, musician, and poet, now exiled in Germany. His new book, For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet’s Journey through a Chinese Prison tells the story of his imprisonment for writing poetry and film-making. Selections from his book of interviews, The Corpse Walker were first published in The Paris Review. He has received numerous awards, including a Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Grant and a Freedom to Write Award from the Independent Chinese PEN Center.