SOLD OUT! Book Event with Patricia Evangelista and Maria Ressa

October 17, 2023
5:30 - 7:30pm
Columbia Journalism School/ Pulitzer Hall, Lecture Hall
2950 Broadway
New York, NY, 10027, United States
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On Tuesday, October 17 at 5:30pm ET, the Dart Center, in collaboration with PEN America, will host a conversation with Nobel Peace Prize-winner and press freedom advocate, Maria Ressa, and investigative journalist Patricia Evangelista about Evangelista's new book “Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country.” The discussion will focus on Evangelista's on-the-ground account of a nation careening into a violent autocracy and the harrowing stories of those killed through state-sanctioned campaigns of violence. The event is co-presented by PEN America, and will be introduced by PEN America President, Ayad Akhtar.

The event is open to the public. Please note all attendees must pre-register in order to be admitted.

“Some People Need Killing” is Evangelista’s meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war and its president, Rodrigo Duterte’s assault on his country’s struggling democracy. For six years, Evangelista had the distinctive beat of chronicling the killings carried out by police and vigilantes in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs – a campaign that has led to the slaughter of thousands – immersing herself in a world of killers and survivors and capturing the atmosphere of fear created when a democratically-elected president decides that some lives are without worth. The book takes its title from a vigilante, whose words reflect the psychological accommodation that many in the country have made: “I’m really not a bad guy,” he said. “I’m not all bad. Some people need killing.”

Reception: 5:30pm | Conversation: 6:00-7:00pm | Book signing: 7:00-7:30pm

Books will be available for purchase on site. You can also purchase a copy in advance here.

Patricia Evangelista is a trauma journalist and former investigative reporter for the Philippine news organization Rappler. Her reporting on armed conflict and the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan was awarded the Kate Webb Prize for exceptional journalism in dangerous conditions. She was a Headlands Artist in Residence, a recipient of the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, and a fellow of the Logan Nonfiction Program, the Marshall McLuhan Fellowship, the De La Salle University Democracy Discourse Series, the New America Fellows Program, and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Her work investigating President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war has earned a number of local and international accolades. She lives in Manila.

Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler's CEO and president, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail ten times to stay free. Rappler's battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand CutsFor her courage and journalistic integrity, Maria has received numerous accolades. In October 2021, she was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace." In 2022, she was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to the Leadership Panel of the Internet Governance Forum and serves as its Vice-Chair. She is an inaugural Carnegie Distinguished Fellow at Columbia University’s newly launched Institute of Global Politics, where starting this fall she will lead several projects related to the role of artificial intelligence in democracy. In July 2024, she will join the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs as a professor of professional practice. Maria authored Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook. Her most recent book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator, was released in November 2022 and has been translated into 20 languages with more to come next year. Maria focuses critical attention on the breakdown of our global information ecosystem and how interconnected communities of action can hold the line to protect democratic values.

Over the last 100 years, PEN America has mobilized countless writers, activists, and public intellectuals in the fight to defend free expression and the open exchange of ideas. PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. Our strength is our Membership—a nationwide community of more than 7,500 novelists, journalists, nonfiction writers, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other writing professionals, as well as devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission.


Praise for “Some People Need Killing”
“Patricia Evangelista exposes the evil in her country with perfect clarity fueled by profound rage, her voice at one utterly beautiful and terrifyingly vulnerable. In short, clear sentences packed with faithfully recorded details, she reveals the nature of unbridled cruelty with a relentless insightfulness that I have not encountered since the work of Hannah Arendt. This is an account of a dark chapter in the Philippines, an examination of how murder was conflated with salvation in a violent society. Ultimately, however, it transcends its ostensible subject and becomes a meditation on the disabling pathos of self-delusion, a study of manipulation and corruption as they occur in conflict after conflict across the world. Few of history’s grimmest chapters have had the fortune to be narrated by such a withering, ironic, witty, devastatingly brilliant observer. You Mary think you are inured to shock, but this book is an exploding bomb that will damage you anew, making you wiser as it does so.” – Andrew Solomon

"In this haunting work of memoir and reportage, Patricia Evangelista both describes the origins of autocratic rule in the Philippines, and explains its universal significance. The cynicism of voters; the opportunism of Filipino politicians; the appeal of brutality and violence to both groups; all of this will be familiar to readers, wherever they are from."
—Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

“Tragic, elegant, vital. She risked her life to tell this story.”
—Tara Westover, New York Times bestselling author of Educated


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