A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause, Shawn Wen

Wen. A Twenty Minute Silence.jpg
Wen. A Twenty Minute Silence.jpg

A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause, Shawn Wen


Available for Pre-order only. 
Pub Date: July 11, 2017.

A book-length essay on the mime Marcel Marceau, informed by interviews with his students, closely observed performances, and archival research. Remarkably innovative in structure and style, the book employs lists, prose poems, syllabi, a travel itinerary, a catalog of his possessions, and more. A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause is a celebration of Marceau's transcendent creation.

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Shawn Wen is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis (Faber and Faber, 2015). Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Marketplace, and she is currently a producer at Youth Radio. Her video work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Camden International Film Festival, and the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. She holds a BA from Brown University and is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Professional Journalism Training Fellowship and the Royce Fellowship. Wen was born in Beijing, raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in San Francisco.


"As in the work of Marcel Marceau, Shawn Wen crafts a language of silence and absence around the life of her subject to give a much richer picture of a true and unusual talent. These are essays as pantomime, drawing readers in to reveal work of simple and delicate elegance, executed with the utmost precision.”
—Jarrod Annis, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

"If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then what is writing about mime like? In Shawn Wen's capable hands, it can be descriptive and fresh, aphoristically wise, and artfully somber. Whether Wen's animating, with her precise words, the motions of Marcel Marceau's famous stage persona ("Bip the Clown"), or spotlighting his private life through lists of his holdings, or revealing scraps of speech (interview answers, commercial transcripts, his advocacy for fencing as a "school of humility," or his belief that Michael Jackson had "the soul of a mime"), A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause rivets and rewards its reader. Read it to learn a new kind of body language, from an exciting writer worth watching."
—John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT