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.
Allison Markin Powell
Albie Sachs (Justice)
John Ralston Saul
June Tara Winch
Learn more about the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020.
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