Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Six Pussies in Search of Character

Author Salman Rushdie
Photo: Christopher Jones/Telegraph

Salman Rushdie clashes with Peter Carey over honour for Charlie Hebdo

Freedom of expression award for French satirical magazine prompts literary boycott and row over limits of free speech and the right to offend

By Rob Crilly, New York, The Telegraph
3:18AM BST 28 Apr 2015

Salman Rushdie has condemned the decision of six prominent novelists to boycott a New York literary gala honouring the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Mr Rushdie described the authors – including Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje and Teju Cole – as “six pussies” lacking character and said their decision would only encourage intimidation.

They claimed to be avenging its depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.

Gerard Biard, Charlie Hebdo's editor-in-chief, and essayist Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who escaped the attack by arriving late to work, are due to accept a freedom of expression and courage award at the gala hosted by the Pen American Centre on behalf of their colleagues on May 5.

But the decision has divided some of literatures biggest names.

The six – who also include Rachel Kushner, Francine Prose and Taiye Selasi - informed Pen over the weekend that they were withdrawing

"They've all been in touch with us to say they didn't feel comfortable attending," said Suzanne Nossel, Pen executive director.

(More here.)

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