Katrina Survivor Susan Cowsill to Join Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez at International Forum on Natural Disasters

Share Article

New Orleans songwriter Susan Cowsill will join Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, acclaimed Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami, and modernist Chinese Photographer Liu Zheng at the world's first international forum on natural disasters and culture. Susan Cowsill and her husband, Russ Broussard, will attend the February conference in Tokyo at the special invitation of P.E.N., the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization.

The Japan P.E.N. Club, an international association of Japanese writers, has invited New Orleans residents Susan Cowsill and her husband, Russ Broussard, to be special presenters at the world's first international forum focusing on "disaster and culture." The forum will be held on Friday, February 22 through Monday February 25, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan.

This event will be a gathering of artists and writers from all over the world who have written or produced works about natural disasters. Prominent writers and representatives from a variety of fields in Japanese and international society will direct the discussion, which will examine the response to disaster from a cultural perspective. Outstanding writers, filmmakers, and artists will join Susan Cowsill, including Columbian novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of the classic Love in the Time of Cholera, internationally acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, and Chinese photographer Liu Zheng. The goal of P.E.N. is to promote the ideal that art and literature know no frontiers and should remain a common currency among nations, especially in times of political or international conflicts.

Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard will examine the theme "Things Stolen by Katrina, Things Gained from Katrina"

Hurricane Katrina posed incredible challenges to New Orleans musicians, including Susan Cowsill. After losing her home and possessions when Katrina destroyed her city, Susan later learned that her beloved brother Barry Cowsill had lost his life in the storm's aftermath. Susan's commitment to New Orleans remains passionate and steadfast, which is evident in her powerful Hurricane Katrina song, "Crescent City Snow." According to respected sources in the music industry, this song just may go down in musical history as the most poignant to come out of the catastrophe. Susan does all she can to help maintain national awareness of conditions in New Orleans. She is proud to perform alongside her fellow musicians for the benefit of New Orleans and has contributed her songs to relief effort compilation CDs. Susan Cowsill's humanitarian efforts also include working against child abuse and actively supporting peaceful causes, and the rebuilding efforts for her home city of New Orleans.

Wet Bank Guide (September 2007) called Susan Cowsill's Katrina song, "Crescent City Snow," "arguably the best of the lot. It is the anthem we have all been waiting for. To hear it is to want to buy it."

Susan Cowsill made her initial mark on popular culture at the age of eight with The Cowsills, the 60s family pop group that not only scored Top Ten singles The Rain, the Park and Other Things, Hair, and We Can Fly, but also served as the real-life inspiration for American television's fictional Partridge Family. During Susan's decade with New Orleans' roots-pop supergroup The Continental Drifters, she won the hearts of discerning listeners with her impassioned vocals and personally-charged songwriting, gracing three widely-acclaimed albums and a decade's worth of riveting performances.

Cowsill's vocal talents have beautifully supported recordings from artists as diverse as Dwight Twilley, Redd Kross, The Smithereens, Giant Sand, Nanci Griffith, Carlene Carter and Jules Shear, while her compositions have been covered by The Bangles and Hootie and the Blowfish. In addition, popular artists such as Lucinda Williams have provided back-up vocals on Susan Cowsill's recordings.

International P.E.N., a worldwide association of writers, was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere; to emphasize the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views. It is the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. P.E.N originally stood for "Poets, Playwrights, Essayists and Novelists," but now includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians.

International P.E.N.'s Writers in Prison Committee works on behalf of persecuted writers worldwide. Established in 1960 in response to increasing attempts to silence voices of dissent by imprisoning writers, the Writers in Prison Committee monitors the cases of over 900 writers who have been imprisoned, tortured, threatened, attacked, and killed for the peaceful practice of their profession. It publishes a bi-annual Case List documenting free expression violations against writers around the world.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

G. Nienaber

Russ Broussard
Susan Cowsill
Email >
Visit website