Following the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference session on “Censorship Today”, Ben Okri delivered the following statement on behalf of the participating writers:


We, the undersigned writers attending the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference have learned, to our dismay, that the state of Arizona has passed House Bill 2281, which among its other provisions, specifically prohibits, in the public schools, books ‘designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group’. This is being used to ban Latino studies and the dissemination of books written by and about the Latino community. In future this legislation could be used to target any ethnic group and its literatures.

We abhor this racist law and the infringement of the rights of readers and writers. This is a clear case of censorship, which we oppose, and we call upon readers and writers in the US and all over the world to demand the overturn of this law. House Bill 2281 is not just the beginning of a dangerous trend – this is a drastic assault on civil liberties.

Edinburgh, 21 August 2012

  • Andrey Astvatsaturov
  • Nick Laird
  • Ben Okri
  • Junot Diaz
  • James Robertson
  • Ewan Morrison
  • Xiaolu Guo
  • Theresa Breslin
  • Kapka Kassabova
  • Nicola Morgan
  • John Burnside
  • Aonghas Macneacail
  • Denise Mina
  • Chika Unigwe
  • Ian Rankin
  • Janne Teller
  • Alan Bissett
  • Margo Lanagan
  • Alan Gibbons
  • Michel Le Bris
  • Kyung-Sook Shin
  • Patrick Ness
  • Kim Thúy
  • Preeta Samarasan
  • China Miéville
  • Bernado Atxaga
  • Matthias Politycki
  • Jackie Kay
  • Keith Gray
  • Sophie Cooke
  • Owen Sheers
  • Carlos Gamerro
  • Manu Joseph
  • Garth Nix
  • Melvin Burgess
  • Kamila Shamsie
  • Ali Smith
  • Yiyun Li
  • Xi Chuan
  • Kirsty Gunn
  • Dag Solstad
  • José Rodrigues dos Santos


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