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Joint Letter for the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020

Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020

As poets, novelists, journalists, editors and academics, we stand with fellow writers around the world who are being harassed, put on trial or imprisoned.

On 15 November 2020, PEN International's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we are highlighting the cases of all those who have been targeted this year because, through their work or through their actions, they have criticised corruption, supported movements for justice or simply expressed their artistic vision in ways which have upset powerful people.

2020 has been a year unlike any other. For writers at risk, COVID-19 has posed particular challenges. Responding to COVID-19 has provided justification for some governments to clamp down on freedom of expression.

It has increased the health risks faced by writers already held in prison. But it has also reminded us of the importance of the written word to connect us to one another when we are otherwise separated, and its ability to challenge the status quo and fire our imaginations to dream bigger and better.

Today, we ask others to join us to call on governments to protect all writers and ensure that they, and we, can carry out our work in safety.

Jennifer Clement
Ayad Akhtar
Lisa Appignanesi
Margaret Atwood
Catherine Banner
Lauren Beukes
JM Coetzee
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Nadia Davids
David Francis
Damon Galgut
Nina George
Mark Gevisser
Guy Gunaratne
James Hannaham
Iman Humaydan
Danson Kahyana
Katlin Kaldmaa
Mandla Langa
Ola Larsmo
Eric Lax
Yann Martel
Dinaw Mengestu
Sisonke Msimang
Paul Muldoon
Njabulo Ndebele
Margie Orford
Omotoso Yewande
Gregory Pardlo
Allison Markin Powell
Ian Rankin
Albie Sachs (Justice)
Philippe Sands
John Ralston Saul
Fatima Shaik
Kamila Shamsie
Andrew Solomon
Burhan Sönmez
Ma Thida
Luisa Valenzuela
Regula Venske
Ai Weiwei
Zukiswa Wanner
June Tara Winch


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