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The Authors Guild vehemently denounces censorship and is alarmed by recent attempts to cancel events and suppress voices, including speech calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East. The Guild encourages any writers who are experiencing censorship to reach out to us for support (

During these volatile times, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of free expression and the vital role writers play in enriching our perspectives. Literature bears witness to historical complexity. It plays a pivotal part in deepening our understanding of events. Limiting free expression sets a dangerous precedent. It serves to sow discord and division. History has shown that it is a slippery slope from censorship and cancellation to the erosion of other civil liberties. This is why at the Authors Guild, our core principles recognize that “a healthy democracy requires vigorous literary debate, a diversity of ideas, and a tolerance for discourse that some find offensive or challenging.”  

Books, at their best, serve as messengers to build understanding, empathy, and connection. As an organization for writers, we find ourselves in a period of profound mourning and reflection, facing the sobering reality of the immense losses within the world’s cultural sector. We grieve for the 68 journalists whose voices have been permanently silenced, their lives tragically cut short. Alongside them, over 13 poets and prose writers have also been lost, their potential works and contributions to our cultural tapestry forever unrealized.  

On our own shores, the ripple effects of these global devastations are palpable. Some of the authors who have faced cancellations, including our own members such as Viet Thanh Nguyen and Min-Jin Lee, have written movingly and memorably about the ripple effects of war. We need their voices now more than ever. We also need upstanding literary citizens such as Bernard Schwartz who, in refusing to cancel events, demonstrate a commitment to free expression and the ideals at the heart of democracy. As Schwartz said of Nguyen and Lee, “Who else in a moment like this would you want to hear from?” 

Masha Gessen, a courageous refugee and journalist, had their Hannah Arendt Prize canceled in response to an essay on Gaza. Jewish author Nathan Thrall, who recently published A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, had many of his promotional appearances canceled, and Palestinian author Adania Shibli, author of Minor Detail, had her award ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair canceled as well. ArtForum’s editor-in-chief, David Velasco, was fired after posting an open letter asking for an end to the war. According to Inside Higher Ed, over a dozen academics are facing censorship, investigations, and job termination across the country.  

Many members of the Authors Guild have signed numerous letters expressing their dismay at these events and others have joined a collective of writers and cultural organizations from around the globe for weekly sunrise-to-sunset fasts, beginning on December 21. Our partner, the National Coalition Against Censorship, is documenting occurrences of censorship and we will reach out to them to share additional incidences reported to us by writers at large.  

As an institution, we stand unwaveringly with writers who face silencing, censorship, and threats. In these trying times, our mission is clearer than ever. We are here to support, protect, and amplify the voices of writers. Our hope is that authors will not face censorship or cancellation for speaking their minds—for doing what they, as artists, do best.  

We offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones during this devastating time.  

This post was updated with the latest information available as of December 26, 2023.