‘Susan Sontag, her life and work’
a conversation with Benjamin Moser
The American author Benjamin Moser has written a hefty biography of Susan Sontag. This charismatic author wrote on a broad range of subjects including photography, politics, pornography, fascism and AIDS. She wrote pioneering essays such as On Photography and Illness as Metaphor which are being rediscovered by a new generation of readers today.
Sontag was also America’s moral conscience, and fought continually for freedom of speech. Memorably, she was one of the few Western intellectuals who travelled to the besieged Sarajevo during the Balkan War to put on a performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. Moser - who previously visited BOZAR as a moderator of BOZAR BOOK CLUB – talks with journalist Nicky Aerts about the rich life and work of one of the great mythical figures of our recent cultural history.
During the conversation Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors will be discussed. In these companion works, Sontag describes how every era experiences an illness that becomes a symbol of evil in the world. In her time it was cancer and AIDS, but Sontag’s reflections remain extremely relevant in the light of what we are experiencing today.
Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was America’s moral conscience, and fought an ongoing battle for freedom of speech. She wrote innovative essays on photography, politics, pornographic literature, the aesthetics of fascism and AIDS. Her oeuvre has received countless awards, including the National Book Award in 2000 and the Jerusalem Prize in 2001.
Benjamin Moser writes for publications that include Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Book Review. His biography Clarice Lispector was shortlisted for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and has received enthusiastic international praise. In 2019 his biography of Susan Sontag, Sontag: Her Life, was published.