Due to the overwhelming response to this case, we have now launched a related petition and are inviting all our supporters to add their voices
On 17 October, 20 leading writers and PEN members including John Carey, David Hare and Tom Stoppard voiced concerns in a letter published in the Daily Telegraph regarding a court ruling that prevents the publication of a memoir.
English PEN believes that the judgment is a significant threat to freedom of expression. It is likely that it could be used to prevent publication of books and journalism in the future, on the grounds that the content may cause psychological harm to an individual.
The defendants are currently considering appealing to the Supreme Court. The current backlog of cases means that it may not get heard for at least a year. However, if there is enough of an outcry about the judgment, then this may speed up the process. As a result, and due to the response to the case, we have now launched a related petition and are inviting all English PEN members and supporters to show your support by adding your name.
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 The Court has ruled that the book should not be published on the grounds that it may cause psychological harm to the author’s child, who suffers from disabilities, including Asperger’s and ADHD. The book is not targeted at children and will not be published in the country in which the child lives.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. 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.
Candace Allen, Simon Altmann, Janet Anderton-Nunn, Jeffrey Archer, Simon Ardizzone, Madie Armstrong, Hywel Arnold, Yousef Azizi, Rosemary Bailey, Joan Bakewell, Julian Barnes, Julian Beach, Martin Belk, Ryan Bestford, Gabriele Bock, Mark Bond-Webster, William Boyd, Sarah Bradford, Ruth Brandon, Nickolas Brienza, Johanna Brooke, Louisa Brown, Terry Browning, David Buchan, Gaenor Burchett-Vass, Susan Burningham, Elaine Burns, Stephen Butt, Marina Buvailo, Olivia Byard, George Campbell, John Carey, Debjani Chatterjee, Patrick Clark, Federica Cocco, Richard Compton, Rachel Cooke, Charlotte Coombe, Elena Corsi, Adrian Couper, Helen Coyle, Jim Crace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Cuthbert, Simon Darragh, Suzy Davies, John Davison, Caroline Dawnay, Anne Devlin, Jonathan Dimbleby, Cory Doctorow, Anne Dolamore, Joe Duirwyn, Helen Dunmore, Fraser Dyer, David Edgar, Catherine Ellis, Soonera Esscopri, Zoe Fairbairns, Moris Farhi, Penelope Farmer, Anne Louise Fisher, Susan Fletcher, Rebecca Foster, Miranda France, Norman Franklin, Michael Frayn, Maureen Freely, Leah Fritz, Stephen Fry, Paula Elisabeth Fure, Charlotte Furniss-Roe, Juliet Gardiner, Liz Gardiner, Jamila Gavin, Rick Gekoski, Ghazi Gheblawi, Christopher-Mark Gibbins, Roland Glasser, Hilary Griffin, Jonny Griffiths, Jay Griffiths, Daisy Goodwin, Mandy Groves, Mary Hamer, Sophie Hardach, David Hare, Laura Hargreaves, JP Hastings-Spital, Caspar Henderson, Liz Heron, Stewart Hildred, Elizabeth Hilliard, Isabel Hilton, Victoria Hislop, John Hodgson, Eva Hoffman, Tom Holland, Liu Hongbin, Amanda Hopkinson, Rachel Hore, Ann Horne, Anne Marie Jackson, Erwin James, Frances Jessup, Alice Jolly, Ivan Jones, Melanie Jones, Russell Celyn Jones, Nicolas Kent, Barry Kernon, Marilyn Kinnon, Susanne Klinger, Jim Knott, Sebastian Kriegler, Hari Kunzru, Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Marina Lewycka, Nell Leyshon, Harlan Leyside, Jean Liddiard, Alison Light, Steven Lindsay, Susan Littledale, David Lodge, Cat Lucas, Deborah Lucas, Helge Lunde, Elizabeth Macklin, Alison MacLeod, Sean Maddison, Jessica Mann, Linda Mannheim, Dennis Marks, Matthew Marland, Fariba Marzban, Annabelle May, Jim McAllister, Carmen McCain, James McConnachie, Melanie McGrath, John McKiernan, Tessa McWatt, Glen Mehn, Pauline Melville, Meredith Miller, Miranda Miller, Bryony Mills, Grahame Morris, Adelaide Morris, Blake Morrison, Ray Moseley, Miriam Moss, Sheila Mulhern, Katharine Norbury, Bjarne Nordbeck, Laryssa Nyrvana, Niall Oddy, Robert Ogden, Conn O’Grady, Yan Overfield Shaw, Antonia Owen, Michael Patterson, Ihor Pavlyuk, Penny Perrick, Daniela Petracco, Françoise Pinteaux-Jones, Bertie Playle, Joan Poulson, Andrew Prior, Paul Ranford, Michael Reid, Enid Richemont, Simon Risbridger, George Robinson, Ferial Rogers, Rhonda Roxborough, Vicky Ryder, Nisa Saiyid, Raffaella Salierno, Ros Schwartz, Robyn Scott, Anne Sebba, Will Self, David Selzer, Mayukh Sen, Miranda Seymour, Robert Sharp, Alan Sheridan, Steven Shorter, Penny Simpson, Prue Skene, James Smith, Sam Smith, Anwar Soltani, Nicola Spurr, William St Clair, Cath Staincliffe, Rebecca Stevens, Dominic Stevenson, Tom Stoppard, Emma Summer, Andrew Sutherland, Arch Tait, Katrina Tanzer, Bing Taylor, Rupert Thomson, Colin Thubron, Steve Toase, Colm Tóibín, Helen Tomlinson, Colleen Toomey, Terry Victor, Chris Watson, Helen Waugh, Emma Whipday, Doortje Wils, Peter Wood Cotterill