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An Invitation


If you are afraid of the consequences of what you say, then you are not free.


An intimacy of strangers. That's a phrase I've sometimes used to express the joyful thing that happens in the act of reading, that happy union of the interior lives of author and reader.


-Salman Rushdie, Knife





I begin my blog post today with a tribute to Salman Rushdie, his fortitude and recovery from a near-death experience. I won't reiterate the particulars here of the brutal slashing; Rushdie refuses to name his assailant in his new memoir, Knife. He's just A.


It saddens me that the World Voices Festival, which Rushdie was instrumental in launching, has been cancelled this year. It's a testament to how fearful and unfree writers are feeling these days. How we are taking precautions we would never have considered before. How we are self-censoring. And all of this must stop.


It was Rushdie's new book, and his courage, which supported my decision to accept an invitation from the Woodstock Library Forum to read from and discuss my new book, Becoming a Writer.  I hadn't planned on yet another reading. But I think it's important to get onto the library steps, so to speak, as friends of Rushdie did at the New York Public Library to support his rehab at the Rusk Institute and honor his work. His injuries were beyond even his fertile imagination. He's back home now, writing, and publishing. 


I will be "standing up" for him and all writers at risk at the Woodstock Library Forum on Saturday, May 4 @ 5 p.m.  Bring a notebook and free flowing pen, or an electronic device. Let us read and write together in a spirit of peace, freedom and compassion.


This post is dedicated to all the writers at risk throughout the world. For more information:   https://pen.org/issue/writers-at-risk/








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