On PEN's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, Canadian poet, novelist and activist Margaret Atwood writes to imprisoned Turkish writer Asli Erdoğan.
Dear Asli Erdogan,
Today is your 91st day behind bars. I’m writing to tell you that even through the concrete walls of your prison, beyond the guards, the barbed wire, the locks and keys, we can still hear your voice. Your words still shape the fight for freedom and the right to free expression.
Like you, I and many, many other writers believe that literature can inspire the longing for justice, can generate tolerance, and can expand human sympathy and understanding. Although you are in prison, you are not alone: you have the entire PEN community of writers from around the world fighting for your freedom. They will continue to hope for you, and they will not stop working for you until you are free.
I have faith that you will very soon be free. I hope that you will find yourself in a Turkey where you can write and speak without fear and censorship, a Turkey that celebrates diversity of thought and opinion. I hope you will live in a Turkey that is proud of the voices of its talented thinkers, writers, and artists who have reached so many admirers far beyond its borders. I hope you will live in a Turkey that is proud of its democracy – a Turkey that is proud of voices like yours.
We send you our hopes and our warmest wishes, and keep you in our thoughts.
Day of the Imprisoned Writer