The Moth’s PEN World Voices Event in Miniature


At last week’s Moth event at Galapagos in Brooklyn, “You Say You Want a (R)evolution,” host Tom Shillue compared the uniforms of US soldiers and Afghanistan rebels to the stylings of Storm Troopers and Jedi knights from Star Wars. If that piques your interest, catch him tonight at The Green Room. Shillue also introduced each storyteller with his or her answer to the question “What is something you hope remains unchanged?” After the jump, we present the storytellers and their answers. Can you match them up?

Endearing businessman Boris Timanovsky told a story about becoming his own pen pal, and perfect match(.com).

Writer/lawyer Petina Gappah described how her elementary school was a wee bit slow to catch up with Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

The incomparable Bokara Legendre shared what she learned when she went to Nepal for a party and found inner peace. “The party is always there, and the peace is always there. It’s simply a matter of choice.”

Hungarian writer László Garaczi, via translator André Balog, told the audience about how two car crashes turned him from an atheist to an agnostic, and taught us not to buy cars that pigs will eat.

Salman Rushdie shared his strategy for beating writer’s block: visiting a revolution in progress. After he returned from Nicaragua in 1986, he thought, “Home — safe — nothing bad will ever happen again!” Then he sat down and wrote the final draft of The Satanic Verses. Cue raucous and knowing literary laughter.

The things they’d like to remain unchanged?

“My son’s appetite for life.”

“My mind — it changes all the time.”

“My wife.”

“One of my decisions, for at least a whole day.”

“My computer monitor.”

Post your guesses about which response goes with which speaker in the comments!