NEW YORK— In response to reports that a dozen foreign writers who were invited to speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival have been refused visas, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel released the following statement:

“We are alarmed to hear that a dozen international writers have been denied visas to attend the Edinburgh Book Festival.  As sponsors of the PEN World Voices Festival, the leading global literary festival in the United States, we have encountered increasingly cumbersome, time-consuming and costly visa application processes in recent years for writers and artists seeking to join our springtime Festival in New York City. At a time of geopolitical polarization and hardened borders, cultural and intellectual exchange provides an essential lifeline to keep societies and peoples connected and prevent schisms from deepening as a result of ignorance and fear.  We call on all governments to remove unjustified and needless hindrances to peaceful, reasoned inter-cultural dialogue.”

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: 

Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: agasparian@pen.org