A new project, launched by English PEN, offers guidance to authors on free expression issues. The organisation has commissioned Human Rights barrister Martha Spurrier to examine the rights and restrictions to free speech. Over the next 14 weeks, Freedom To Writer: A Users Guide will deal with issues such as libel, privacy, and the public interest, aimed particularly at authors wishing to know what they can and cannot write. Articles will be published online every Friday.
Director of English PEN Jonathan Heawood says: ‘The UK has strong tradition of free speech, but unfortunately any author who wants to a stir up the status quo or speak truth to power must first negotiate the complex areas of criminal and civil law relating to expression. Our new guide will help writers navigate the current law, so they can write what they want to write with confidence. We hope this will embolden writers to tell their story.’
Freedom to Write: A Users Guide is aimed at all writers – novelists, non-fiction writers, biographers or bloggers.
The guide cites many of English PEN’s recent campaigns for free expression in the UK, including our ‘Free Expression is No Offence’ Campaign (2005), our Criminal Memoirs Campaign (2009), and our ongoing Libel Reform Campaign, and will be updated to reflect changes in the law.