Eve Ensler, Tony Award-winning playwright, performer, and activist, is the author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been translated into over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries, including sold-out runs at both Off-Broadway’s Westside Theater and on London’s West End (2002 Olivier Award nomination, Best Entertainment). Her experience performing The Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls which raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of her award-winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2011, over 5,600 V-Day benefits took place. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $90 million and educated millions. Ms. Ensler’s latest book “In the Body of the World” (Metropolitan Books) — is a brave and beautiful examination of an illness, unlike anything ever written about cancer. Ms. Ensler has written numerous articles for The Guardian, Huffington Post, Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. She was named one of US News & World Report’s ”Best Leaders” in association with the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School and one of “125 Women Who Changed Our World” by Good Housekeeping Magazine (2010). In 2011 she was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Changed the World” and The Guardian’s “100 Most Influential Women.”
Main Keynote: In the Body of the World
Eve will speak about themes from her most recent memoir, a meditation on separation and connection—to the body, the self, and the world. Eve has devoted her life to the female body—how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body—a disconnection brought on by her father’s sexual abuse and her mother’s remoteness. “Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the Earth,” she writes, “I could not feel or know their pain.” But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. While working in the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully—and gratefully—joined to the body of the world. In her talk and her work, Eve Ensler is unflinching, generous, and inspiring; she calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world.