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Eve Ensler "This I Believe" Segment to Air on NPR "All Things Considered" Today

03/20/2006

NPR
3/14/2006

Essay Examines Ensler’s Belief in the Power of Words and Language
March 14, 2006, Washington, D.C. -- In the This I Believe segment airing on All Things Considered on March 20, playwright Eve Ensler describes the power of words to overcome taboos and denial.

Recalling the sexual abuse she had endured as well as atrocities against women by the Taliban, during the Bosnian war or after the Sri Lanka tsunami, she notes, "Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying and crucial work. This has to happen in spite of political climates or coercions, in spite of careers being won or lost, in spite of the fear of being criticized, outcast or disliked. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it."
The NPR weekly series This I Believe is a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow’s landmark 1950s project, which features prominent and everyday Americans voicing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays.

Ensler is best known as author and star of The Vagina Monologues, which won an Obie Award for "Best New Play" in 1996. It has been translated into 35 languages and was performed more than 2,500 times in 2005 alone. She is currently on tour in her newest play, The Good Body. Ensler is also an activist on behalf of women’s rights and is founder of V-Day, a worldwide campaign to stop violence against women and girls.

Ensler joins an impressive list of well-known essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4, 2005; they include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Senator John McCain; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; magician Penn Jillette; activist Gloria Steinem; author John Updike; psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and scientist Brian Greene.
This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners who have submitted more than 11,000 essays. Their essays have been revelations about parents, personal struggles, race and identity, and even the importance of feeding monkeys. They have been serious and, at times, poignant, as well as unabashedly funny.
This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations, and essays have also been read or played at weddings and funerals. The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers.

Check www.NPR.org for stations and times of All Things Considered. To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on NPR.org. To listen or to read past essays please visit www.npr.org/thisibelieve.