PEN America to Sue Donald Trump for Restricting Freedom of Speech

By October 18, 2018 Authors, News, Political

Writers’ group PEN America, which consists of many well known writers and novelists, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against President Donald Trump for ‘violations of America’s First Amendment’.

The group is attempting to “stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes”. The First Amendment of the US constitution protects freedom of speech and PEN aren’t the only group to voice concerns about how Trump has attempted to shut down journalism.



Novelist Jennifer Egan is the current president of PEN America, she and the organisation’s chief executive officer Suzanna Nossel have revealed the lawsuit in an open letter posted on the PEN America website.

The letter addresses Trump’s record both towards press journalism and book publishing saying “President Trump’s tirades against the press are not new. His cries of ‘fake news’ are an almost daily occurrence. The White House has called for individual journalists to be fired, and the president has referred to the media as ‘the enemy of the American people.’ This has created an environment of hostility toward the media wherein journalists have been subject to death threats, needed bodyguards to cover political rallies, and have faced attacks in their newsrooms. The president has also threatened book publishers and authors who have published critical volumes. ”

They believe that this causes an environment of hostility towards the media, causing journalists to be subject to death threats and fears about writing the truth, something PEN say is a direct threat to the First Amendment. The President has also threatened book publishers and authors who have published critical volumes and spoken out against his policies. A consequence of this may be that individual writers may think twice about publishing pieces or commentary that could put them at odds of the White House.

The lawsuit has been filed in conjunction with nonpartisan nonprofit organisation Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic. At the time of writing, Trump had not responded to the suit.

New Daphne Du Maurier Poems Discovered in Photo Frame

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Daphne Du Maurier ‘s undiscovered poems have been found in an old photo frame containing a snapshot of the young author.

The photograph and frame were owned by Du Maurier’s close friend, Maureen Baker-Munton, who had kept over 40 years worth of correspondence between them. After Baker-Munton’s son put the collection up for auction the letters were discovered by Roddy Lloyd, the auctioneer responsible for selling the items.

The auctioneer was cataloguing the archive when he decided to look more closely at the photograph of young Du Maurier at the beach. “We were going through the last box of documents on my kitchen table, when for some reason I decided to take the picture out to have a better look. When I took it out of the frame, out popped these poems. It looks like they’re from around the 1920s.”

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Charlotte Brontë’s hair found in antique ring

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Charlotte Brontë’s hair has been found hidden inside an antique ring, according to experts.

The ring was brought to jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow by an unnamed woman who claimed it belonged to her late father-in-law.

The ring contains an inscription inside, which bears the name of the author, and the date of her death- 1855. The excited woman explained: “I’ve got goosebumps now thinking about it. It’s got a hinge on it, and inside there’s plaited hair, I think it may be the hair of Charlotte Brontë!”

Geoffrey Munn told the lucky Antiques Roadshow visitor that he had ‘very little reason to doubt’ the ring’s authenticity.

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The Brilliance of Kathy Acker

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Kathy Acker (18th April, 1947 – 30th November 1997) was an American experimental novelist, playwright, and sex-positive feminist writer who shook up the world with her street punk view of the world and her radical writings.

Born in New York City in 1947, Karen Lehman as she was born grew up feeling unloved by a hostile mother and unwanted by a father who abandoned her. Records show that Acker was born in 1947, but the Library of Congress has her birth as 1948 and most of the obituaries at the time of her death cited her birth as 1944.
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Hunter S. Thompson’s Cabin to be Available for Rental

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If you’re a fan of Hunter S. Thompson then you may have a passing internet in Owl Farm, the cabin home where the author and journalist is said to have written Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Until now the cabin has sat uninhabited, visitors unwelcome unless there is an event on in the cabin, but now Thompson’s widow, Anita has decided to make the cabin available to fans.

This isn’t going to be a standard Air BnB listing, the cabin will be available primarily for fans. The details are still being ironed out, but Anita Thompson announced on Facebook that “Our staff will do a light background check and welcome those who love Hunter’s work to be overnight guests at Owl Farm. The applications are open to the public for those who want to be part of the legacy and consist of a paragraph of why you would like to stay at Owl Farm, located between Woody Creek and Lenado. People have been asking for years to see Hunter’s Owl Farm, which is private property,” she continues. “I’ve finally prepared Hunter’s writer’s cabin for this purpose during this season.”

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Valerie Solanas, Author, Radical Feminist, Attempted Murderer

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Valerie Solanas (April 9th, 1936 – April 25th, 1988) was an American radical feminist, author of the SCUM Manifesto, and troubled individual. The Manifesto is one of the best known books in the radical feminist genre, but Solanas is best known for shooting Andy Warhol.

Born in New Jersey, Solanas had a turbulent upbringing, claiming her father regularly sexually abused her. Her parents divorced when she was young, but she also disliked her stepfather and soon descended into rebellion and truancy. After a difficult childhood, Solanas became homeless at fifteen, at seventeen she gave birth to a child who was removed from her care and adopted.

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10 Playful Postmodern Quotes from Donald Barthelme

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Donald Barthelme was an award-winning short story writer and novelist from Philadelphia.

Born in April 1931 to two academic and professional parents, Barthelme began writing as a teen for newspapers. He and his father had many arguments about what area of writing Donald was interested in, with particular disdain for Donald’s love for postmodern literature.

Aged 30, Barthelme had his first short story published while working as director of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Eventually the writer went on to publish over 100 short stories. His strict postmodern style, spattered with non-sequiturs and playful use of language has created waves among both traditional and postmodern writers and critics.

Barthelme’s influences include Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He was described in Time magazine  as an author with “Kafka’s purity of language and some of Beckett’s grim humour.”

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