The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century at NYIH Oct. 6th and 7th


The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, together with the Polish Cultural Institute, the National Book Critics Circle, and the new Literary Reportage concentration at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute invite you to attend:


A Public Conversation
on the ins and outs of long-form and literary journalism
with leading authors of the genre

October 6 & 7, 2009
NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall
100 Washington Square East

This symposium, composed of three distinct panels over two evenings, offers an exciting public conversation about the state of the art of reportage amid a rapidly changing media landscape; the various approaches to and practices of long-form and literary journalism; and the ongoing legacy of renowned practitioners like Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński. At a time when categorical differences between fiction and nonfiction are increasingly ambiguous–and the gap between their respective segments of the publishing market increasingly small–a discussion of reportage as a literary art form seems paramount.

Free and open to the public, this event coincides with the launch this fall of the Literary Reportage concentration at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and is being held in association with the Overseas Press Club of America and Words Without Borders, the online magazine of international literature.



Panel I:  The Art of Reportage: On the Ground and On the Page
How does narrative arise from reportage? What transformation occurs during the writing process? Answers from journalists who combine investigative skills and literary craft.

Jane Ciabattari, Moderator, is President of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of the Executive Board of the Overseas Press Club. Her reporting from abroad and cultural criticism have appeared in the New York TimesThe Guardian online,, Bookforum, the Washington PostLos Angeles Times, and Columbia Journalism Review.

Joshua Clark is author of Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone (2007 National Book Critics Circle award finalist). He has worked as a correspondent for NPR and

Eliza Griswold is author of The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (FSG, forthcoming 2010), a New America Fellow, and a 2010 Rome Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Her reportage has appeared in the New YorkerHarper’s and the New Republic.

Arif Jamal is author of The Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir (Melville House, 2009). Former contributing writer to the New York Times, he is a fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

Elizabeth Rubin, a recent Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Her award-winning reportage from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, Russia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, Harper’s, and the New Yorker.

Paweł Smoleński is author of 7 books in Polish, including Burial of a Butcher, on tensions between Poles and Ukrainians, and Hell in Paradise, on post-Saddam Iraq. He received a 2005 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism from Columbia University’s Journalism School.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6th @ 7:30pm

Panel II:  Literary Reportage Between Self and Other, Fact and Fiction

If a strictly objective take is self-evidently impossible, what sort of warrant as to strict veracity ought the reader expect from the creator of long-form narrative nonfiction? To what extent, if any, ought that writer’s vantage be grounded in a personal “I” voice, and to what extent does even that commitment shade into a sort of fiction?

Lawrence Weschler, Moderator, is concurrently Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the author of over a dozen books, including The Passion of PolandCalamities of Exile, and Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences (2007 National Book Critics Circle Award winner).

Wojciech Jagielski is the author of 4 books in Polish, including Night Wanderers (2009), about child soldiers in Uganda, and, in English translation, Towers of Stone: The Battle of Wills in Chechnya(Seven Stories, October 2009).

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx (2003, NBCC finalist), a 2006 MacArthur Fellow, and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Suketu Mehta is author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (2004), a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, and Associate Professor in the Literary Reportage concentration of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU.

Alastair Reid is an eminent poet, longtime New Yorker correspondent from Spain, Scotland, and Latin America, one of the foremost translators of the work of both Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges, and a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.


Panel III:  Kapuściński’s Legacy in the 21st Century
Ryszard Kapuściński was one of the most celebrated, albeit controversial journalists of the last fifty years, a gorgeous stylist and a rhapsodic, if at times not strictly reliable, witness. To what extent is the kind of reportage he engaged in even possible today? What lessons can the next generation of writers draw from his example?

Robert S. Boynton, Moderator, is Director of NYU’s new Literary Reportage concentration, former Senior Editor at Harper’s, and author of The New New Journalism (2005).

Breyten Breytenbach is a poet, novelist, memoirist, essayist, and visual artist. Born in South Africa, he immigrated to Paris in the late ’60s and became deeply involved in the anti-Apartheid movement. Breytenbach’s works include MouroirNotes from the Middle WorldThe True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, and Voice Over: a nomadic conversation with Mahmoud Darwish.

Ted Conover is the author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (2001 National Book Critics Circle Award winner), a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Klara Glowczewska
is Editor in Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, the only travel publication to win a National Magazine Award, translator of three of Ryszard Kapuściński’s books, including Travels With Herodotus (2007), and Board member of the Overseas Press Club.

Wiktor Osiatynski is Professor at Central European University in Budapest and a member of the Board of the Open Society Institute. A close friend of Ryszard Kapuscinski, Osiatynski was a writer for the Warsaw newsweekly Kultura until its banning in 1981, and is the author of 25 books, including, in English, Contrasts and Rehab and Human Rights and Their Limits (Cambridge Univ. Press, September 2009).

David Samuels is a contributing editor at Harper’s and a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly. His books Only Love Can Break Your Heart and The Runner: A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue were published in 2008 by The New Press.


The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU ( was established in 1976 by founding director Richard Sennett as a forum for promoting the exchange of ideas between academics, professionals, politicians, diplomats, writers, journalists, musicians, painters, and other artists in New York City—and between all of them and the city. It currently comprises approximately 220 Fellows. The NYIH typically holds luncheon-lectures for Institute Fellows every Friday of the academic year. In addition to these events the NYIH organizes a variety of seminars, conferences, discussions, readings and performances that are free and open to the public.

The Literary Reportage Concentration of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU ( welcomes its first graduate students this autumn. The Literary Reportage track brings together traditional journalism’s emphasis on rigorous reporting and research with the emphasis of the MFA writing workshop model on close professional faculty mentorship. We believe that the finest long-form nonfiction is always in conversation with the best thinking of traditional academic disciplines. Students therefore take courses designed to deepen their reporting and research skills as well as their understanding of literary technique and of specific subjects, availing themselves of the resources of the Journalism Institute and other NYU departments.

The Polish Cultural Institute in New York ( established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission dedicated to nurturing and promoting cultural ties between the United States and Poland, both through American exposure to Poland’s cultural achievements and through exposure of Polish artists and scholars to American trends, institutions, and professional counterparts. The Institute initiates, organizes, promotes, and produces a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, film, literature, and the fine arts. It has collaborated with the Lincoln Center Festival, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Art at St. Ann’s, PEN World Voices Festival, Poetry Society of America, Yale University, and many other cultural institutions.

The National Book Critics Circle (, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin, is a nonprofit organization consisting of some 600 active book reviewers who are interested in honoring quality writing and communicating with one another about common concerns. It is managed by a 24-member all-volunteer board of directors. In addition to its annual Best Book awards, the NBCC sponsors the Sandrof award for lifetime achievement and the Balakian award for excellence in reviewing. The NBCC offers forums for the intelligent discussion of books across the nation and an ongoing conversation about book culture through its award-winning blog, Critical Mass.

The Overseas Press Club of America ( was founded in 1939 in New York by a group of foreign correspondents. The OPC seeks to maintain an international association of journalists working in the United States and abroad; to encourage the highest standards of professional integrity and skill in the reporting of news; to help educate a new generation of journalists; to contribute to the freedom and independence of journalists and the press throughout the world, and to work toward better communication and understanding among people.

Words Without Borders
( opens doors to international exchange through translation, publication, and promotion of the best international literature. Founded in 2000, Words without Borders publishes selected prose and poetry in its monthly online magazine and in print anthologies, develops materials to facilitate the use of foreign literature in high school and college classrooms, and stages events that connect foreign writers to the general public and media.