In 2012, we partnered with Open Society Foundations to bring you a special issue we called Writers Bloc. Now we’re doing it again: this time, it’s Free Expression with the Open Society Foundations and Free Word Centre, as well as Article 19 and English PEN. We’re excited to share this new special issue with you.
In Writers Bloc, Zadie Smith wrote: “Writing is often called ‘news from elsewhere,’ and speaking about one world to another has always been one of the many aims of the writer.”
This year we’re proud to present more ‘news from elsewhere,’ whether that be close to home or across an ocean; behind closed doors or stirring up a storm on the streets. Read our special issue here.
For several Guernica contributors, the topic of free expression leads to a discussion of self-censorship in China, and of the fierce arguments that followed Mo Yan’s 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature win. Emily Parker speaks with novelist Yiyun Li about the Zhu Ling poisoning case, “self-censorship in China, the line between fact and fiction, and whether it’s possible to create good art under a repressive regime.” Meanwhile, Pankaj Mishra urges readers to approach Mo Yan with an open mind.
Guernica also talks to the author of the upcoming book “I am China,” Xiaolu Guo, about her frustration with the West’s fondness for Chinese dissident artists. The special issue also features 1989 Tiananmen Square student protest leader Hu Ping’s essay on freedom of speech, translated by Eric Abrahamsen with an introduction by Wuer Kaixi, as well as a feature by Emily Strasser on self-immolations in Tibet.