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Chelsea Manning Headlines New Yorker Festival


Chelsea Manning, photographed in May, will be interviewed at this year’s New Yorker Festival.

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images; via Chelsea Manning

In previous years, The New Yorker Festival has centered on pop culture luminaries, from David Letterman to Stephen Sondheim. But this year’s festival, from Oct. 6 to 8 in Manhattan, will skew political, with interviews with Chelsea Manning, Preet Bharara, and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota.

“I don’t think it would be possible for us to have a New Yorker Festival that wasn’t political, considering what an intensely political time we’ve been living in,” David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, said in a phone interview. “I think we’re living in a unique moment of emergency.”

Ms. Manning will be interviewed in one of her first public speaking appearances since she was released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth this year, after former President Obama commuted the bulk of her sentence. Her sharing of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents in 2010 with WikiLeaks, along with her gender transition, have made her a cultural lightning rod.

“She’s just an extraordinary story, no matter what you think of it,” Mr. Remnick said.

Mr. Bharara, a New York federal attorney appointed under Mr. Obama, was fired by President Trump in March after refusing to resign. He will be interviewed by Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who writes for The New Yorker. “It’ll be fascinating to see what Jeffrey can tease out of him,” Mr. Remnick said.

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