Fighting Fog

Jake Arnott, Deborah Moggach, Bidisha William Feinnes and I are at The Pavillion Theatre tonight for The Brighton Festival. It’s my second time here in two weeks. We are reading Writing For Freedom a script that intertwines the story of the inception of PEN and the testimony of two incarcerated writers.

The event is eloquently introduced by Jonathon Heawood thus “PEN is the only collective defence for those who seek to write truth” Green highlighter pen marks my first lines, Tom Stoppard: “Pen exists to defend and benefit writers less lucky than oneself. I joined because writers everywhere (and readers too, I believe) are family”

The script includes incisive comment from Harold Pinter, Monica Ali, Orhan Parmuk and many other membes of PEN. And from HG Wells “I put free speech before anything else. It is the best thing worth fighting for. It is the essence of your personal honour. It is your duty as a world citizen to do what you can for that. You have not only to resist suppressions; you have to fight your way out of the fog.

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