We are delighted to this evening present noted writer, multimedia artist, and radio producer Shawn Wen, up from her San Francisco home. Her booklength essay on Marcel Marceau, A Twenty Minute Silence Followed By Applause (Sarabande Books), is a marvel both in its writing, and in how it has been reaching readers.
“It isn’t easy to turn a biography into poetry. But Shawn Wen does exactly that with her portrait of mime artist Marcel Marceau, who introduced the world to this wordless art form. Wen, a radio producer and multimedia artist, has written her first book with the kind of poetic zeal that suits an artist who practically created silent cinema on stage. . . . Wen’s evocative writing invites us into the audience to watch the powdered face arch into emotional heights, the body sway against unseen wind. . . . With A Twenty Minutes Silence Followed by Applause, Wen offers an invigorating and memorable paean to Marceau’s talent and tragedies, wrapped in a melodic critique that is unafraid to show the pain of an artist who sometimes felt trapped in a box.” —The Washington Post.
“Intellectually agile and tenderly imagined, Shawn Wen’s incandescent essay reminds readers that writing is gesture, that movement is a language of thought, and that the union of the two is a thing of beauty.” —Alexandra Kleeman.