85.1

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“1000 Writers to Meet in New York at PEN International Congress.” Article-interview by Madalynne Reuter. Publishers’ Weekly, 8 February, 23– 24. Heralding the 12–18 January 1986 conference in New York, Mailer and PEN American Center executive director Karen Kennerly gave an overview on the event. Mailer came up with the idea of asking 16 American authors to speak two at time for eight evenings to raise money for the conference. They are: Mailer, William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow, Woody Allen, Eudora Welty, William F. Buckley Jr., Joan Didion, John Irving, James Michener, Arthur Miller, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Susan Sontag, John Updike, Gore Vidal and Tom Wolfe. Mailer explained the theme of the conference is the “imagination of the writer and the imagination of the state,” but that there would be “no invidious comparisons of governments. Our purpose is to enhance relations rather than smash them.” Asked if organizing a conference is harder than writing, Mailer said it was. “But after you turn 60, you have to take up church work.” See 85.2, 85.6, 85.8, 85.9, winter and spring 1986 entries.