London writers to protest 'slide into fascism' as Trump takes office

London writers to protest 'slide into fascism' as Trump takes office

Writers Resist London are joining other authors worldwide in reaffirming their commitment to a tolerant and diverse society in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency. 

London will be one of more than 50 cities worldwide this Sunday (15th January) protesting "any slide into fascism" in the United States, amid fears democracy is being "eroded" by a growing and alarming "disdain for truthfulness".

The event in London, coinciding with Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, will be held at the Horse Hospital in London, making a stand for freedom of expression through panel discussion and poetry readings from literary voices. It echoes a flagship New York City event, co-sponsored by PEN America, which is joined by additional events in Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Austin, Portland, Omaha, Seattle, Zurich, and Hong Kong, among others. 

It will host poets Tom Pickard and Cathy Dreyer, director of Faber Academy's fiction programme Richard Skinner and writer Owen Vince, and a panel discussion with journalist and critic Juliet Jacques, writer Legacy Russell and publishing professional and writer Laura Waddell. 

Writers Resist is not affiliated with a political party but a movement that hopes writers can be "a unifying force for the protection of democracy" and seeks to resist attacks on "basic principles of freedom and justice for all". A statement on behalf of the organisation reads: "Our democracy is at risk. Growing public cynicism and an alarming disdain for truthfulness is eroding our most dearly held democratic ideals. As writers we have tremendous power to bypass empty political discourse and focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society." Each Writers Resist event is independently organised around Writers Resist's guiding principles.

Russell Bennetts, organiser for Writers Resist London, and editor of literary-intellectual online magazine Berfrois, said: "Five days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, writers and readers are gathering worldwide to protest any slide into fascism by the United States.” 

Writer Legacy Russell said: "It's an important time in history, a time where the strategic visibility of collective resistance and determined dissent is essential in the face of sexism, racism, homophobia - these things are the bedrock of fascism, and silence is consent.” 

"As Trump takes office in just a few days and the UK faces its own crisis in the wake of Brexit, the need to stand up for free expression and human rights becomes increasingly pressing," added Waddell.