The Right to Write: Authors Pen Human Rights Anthology


Hot off the presses at the Edinburgh Book Fair today comes the debut of a short story anthology collecting work by literary heavyweights to fete the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom includes a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and presents a provocative mix of fiction and poetry examining how we live free. We’re a bit partial to Article 27 (“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”); get the scoop after the jump.

Some of the writers who penned stories for Freedom have firsthand experience of the flip side of human rights activism: Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was committed to a mental institution by his family as a teenager and later held and tortured by his country’s military government for subversive, left wing activities; Ariel Dorfman, an Argentinean writer and professor, has made a career of critiquing tyranny after his forced exile from Chile in the aftermath of Pinochet’s 1973 coup. Joyce Carol Oates, James Meek, Kate Atkinson, Amit Chaudhuri, A.L. Kennedy, Walter Mosley, and David Mitchell will meditate on the collective commitment to better human existence; following is a sampler of what to expect:

Marina Lewycka Article 4: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Ariel Dorfman Article 9: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

Paulo Coelho Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Article 23: “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”

All authors wrote and contributed stories for free, and Mainstream Publishing will donate royalties to Amnesty International. Brush up on all 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, and buy the anthology online.