Teju Cole and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the PEN USA gala at the World Voices Festival, a weeklong event that brings dozens of writers from around the globe to New York City.
The two Africans have a valid reason for withdrawing from this prestigious event; PEN American Center has decided to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. That’s that one that was attacked by very pissed-off folks last year leading to the “Je Suis Charlie” worldwide social media trend and all that went with it. Gerard Biard, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, and Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a Charlie Hebdo staff member who arrived late for work on Jan 7 and missed the attack by Islamic extremists that killed 12 people, were scheduled to accept the award.
Cole and Selasi are joined by Australian Peter Carey, Sri Lankan-born Canadian Michael Ondaatje, and Americans Francine Prose and Rachel Kushner.
Opinion: We here at JamesMurua.com wholeheartedly agree with the two African authors. I really don’t like what that Charlie Hebdo stands for. Seriously.
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