PEN members protest banning of UK memoir


Stephen Fry, David Hare and Tom Stoppard among leading writers to voice concerns over court ruling that prevents publication of memoir

The Court of Appeal’s injunction last week preventing publication of a memoir poses a significant threat to freedom of expression. The Court has ruled that the book should not be published on the grounds that it may cause psychological harm to the author’s child, who suffers from disabilities, including Asperger’s and ADHD. The book is not targeted at children and will not be published in the country in which the child lives. The memoir deals with the author’s past experiences of sexual abuse and explores the redemptive power of artistic expression. It has been praised, even in court, as striking prose and an insightful work. The author’s earlier public discussions of sexual abuse have previously led to the arrest of one of his abusers.  Its publication is therefore clearly in the public interest and may encourage those who have suffered abuse to speak out. As writers, and members of English PEN, we are gravely concerned about the impact of this judgment on the freedom to read and write in the UK. The public is being denied the opportunity of reading an enlightening memoir, while publishers, authors and journalists may face censorship on similar grounds in the future.

Jeffrey Archer, William Boyd, John Carey, Jim Crace, Jonathan Dimbleby, Cory Doctorow, Michael Frayn, Maureen Freely, President, English PEN, Stephen Fry, Daisy Goodwin, David Hare, Tom Holland, Hari Kunzru, Marina Lewycka, Blake Morrison, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, Tom Stoppard, Colin Thubron, Colm Tóibín

You can read the judgment online, and an analysis of the judgment on the Inforrm blog.

English PEN campaigns for the freedom to write and freedom to read. We are supported by our members. Why not join English PEN today?


68 Comments on PEN members protest banning of UK memoir - Leave a comment

Simon Darragh

As a long-standing professional writer I am of course against the banning of any book. And as one recently diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome I resent being possibly denied the opportunity to read this memoir.

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Ruth Brown

Please correct ‘ who suffers from disabilities’ to the neutral ‘who has disabilities’ as the use of suffer is offensive. Thank you

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