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Authors Guild Statement on Asian American Literature Festival Cancellation

The Authors Guild condemns the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s last-minute cancellation of the Asian American Literature Festival, which was set to take place August 4–6, 2023. The sudden cancellation is egregious, especially for a quasi-government organization. It introduces a concerning element of censorship, as it suppresses the free flow of ideas and artistic expression.

We are particularly alarmed that the decision came on the heels of a routine review for controversial content. Moreover, the absence of a valid explanation for this decision only adds to the unsettling nature of the situation.

A significant number of participants had already made irrevocable travel arrangements, resulting in financial burdens that they are personally shouldering. It is imperative that these incurred costs are promptly reimbursed. To not do so is a breach of good faith and fair dealing, if not of contract.