Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose and at least four other writers have withdrawn from next month's PEN American gala, citing objections to the literary and human rights organization's honouring the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
PEN announced Sunday that the writers were upset by Charlie Hebdo's portrayals of Muslims and "the disenfranchised generally." The Paris-based magazine, where 12 people were killed in a January attack at its offices, is to receive a Freedom of Expression Courage Award at the May 5 event in Manhattan. Much of the literary community rallied behind Charlie Hebdo after the shootings, but some have expressed unhappiness with its scathing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and other Muslims.
"I was quite upset as soon as I heard about [the award]," Prose, a former PEN American president, told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Sunday night. Prose said she was in favor of "freedom of speech without limitations" and that she "deplored" the January shootings, but added that giving an award signified "admiration and respect" for the honoree's work.
"I couldn't imagine being in the audience when they have a standing ovation for Charlie Hebdo," Prose said...Spoken like a true dhimmi/dummy.
I couldn't imagine making my living writing prose and not being in favour of free speech, "offensive" though it may be. But I guess that where Francine and I part company.
Update: Salman Rushdie slams critics of PEN's Charlie Hebdo tribute