POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 28, 2015 AT 23:39 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 28, 2015 23:39 IST

Recently, six prominent novelists said that they were boycotting the May 5  PEN American Center gala in New York literary to protest against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo being honoured with a freedom of expression award.

Australia's Peter Carey, Canada's Michael Ondaatje, British-born Taiye Selasi, and Americans Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Francine Prose have withdrawn from the event.

Carey, a two-times Booker Prize winner, told the New York Times that the award stepped beyond PEN's traditional role of protecting freedom of expression against government oppression:

"A hideous crime was committed, but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about? All this is complicated by PEN's seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation, which does not recognise its moral obligation to a large and disempowered segment of their population."

Salman Rushdie, a perpetual crusader for freedom of expression, however slammed these six authours saying the decision of six writers to skip the PEN gala in protest will encourage intimidation.

Rushdie who often takes to Twitter to talk about his stands and beliefs got into a disagreement with British writer and activist George Monbiot.

Monbiot was defending Peter Carey's stand.

While Salman Rushdie and George Monbiot behaved like perfect gentlemen and agreed to disagree, Twitterati were left rather disappointed because there was no mud-slinging, invective-flinging fight.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 28, 2015 AT 23:39 IST, Edited At: Apr 28, 2015 23:39 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 07, 2015 AT 21:43 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 07, 2015 21:43 IST

"Religion, a medieaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a threat to our freedom.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 07, 2015 AT 21:43 IST, Edited At: Jan 07, 2015 21:43 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON May 06, 2014 AT 21:05 IST ,  Edited At: May 06, 2014 21:05 IST

Salman Rushdie spoke on India: Religious Freedom and Personal Safety on April 28, 2014 at the 2014 PEN World Voices Festival.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON May 06, 2014 AT 21:05 IST, Edited At: May 06, 2014 21:05 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 18, 2012 AT 07:16 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 18, 2012 07:16 IST

It's all happening out there.

First, this year's Nobel prize winnder for literature, Mo Yan, declined to sign a petition -- endorsed by more than 130 other Nobel laureates -- asking for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace laureate. Mr Xiabao was sentenced to 11 years in prison back in 2009 for criticizing the Chinese government and calling for greater openness.

In a press conference in Stockholm a few days back, Mr Yan said while censorship should not stand in the way of the truth, defamation and rumours "should be censored."

"But," he added,  "I also hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principle".

"When I was taking my flight, going through the customs ... they also wanted to check me even taking off my belt and shoes. But I think these checks are necessary."

Refusing to elaborate further on the case of Liu, Mr Yan directed reporters to the comments he made shortly after winning the prize, when he said he hoped Liu would be freed, but said he had no plans to sign a petition calling for the activist's release. "I have always been independent. I like it that way. When someone forces me to do something, I don't do it," he said.

Mr Yan went on the expand on this theme in his Nobel lecture as well:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 18, 2012 AT 07:16 IST, Edited At: Dec 18, 2012 07:16 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
     
 
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