The Court of Appeal's injunction last week preventing publication of a memoir poses a significant threat to freedom of expression.
The Court has ruled that the book should not be published on the grounds that it may cause psychological harm to the author's child, who suffers from disabilities, including Asperger's and ADHD.
The book is not targeted at children and will not be published in the country in which the child lives. The memoir deals with the author's past experiences of sexual abuse and explores the redemptive power of artistic expression. It has been
praised, even in court, as striking prose and an insightful work.
The author's earlier public discussions of sexual abuse have previously led to the arrest of one of his abusers. Its publication is therefore clearly in the public interest and may encourage those who have suffered abuse to speak out.
As writers, and members of English PEN, we are gravely concerned about the impact of this judgment on the freedom to read and write in the UK. The public is being denied the opportunity of reading an enlightening memoir, while publishers,
authors and journalists may face censorship on similar grounds in the future.
Jeffrey Archer, William Boyd, John Carey, Jim Crace, Jonathan Dimbleby, Cory Doctorow, Michael Frayn, Maureen Freely, President, English PEN, Stephen Fry, Daisy Goodwin, David Hare, Tom Holland, Hari Kunzru, Marina Lewycka, Blake Morrison,
Katharine Norbury, Will Self, Tom Stoppard, Colin Thubron, Colm Tóibín