Support for Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

10 Mar 2011

PEN South Africa’s Writers in Prison Committee and Poetry International South Africa are joining arms with more than 70 organisations around the world next week to protest the ongoing detention of Chinese poet and Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo.

On 20 March at 2.30pm at the Book Lounge in Cape Town, a number of South African writers with firsthand experience of prison will share their own writing. They will be joined by local poets who will read Xiaobo’s “Charter 08” and his poem, “You Wait for me with Dust” in translation.

This campaign is an initiative of the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin who have noted that Xiaobo is currently the world’s only winner of the Nobel Peace Prize still held in detention. In 2009, after co-authoring “Charter 08”, a manifesto calling for greater freedoms and democracy in China, Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in prison on a spurious charge of “inciting subversion of state power”.

His continued imprisonment impinges on his basic human rights and violates China’s own constitution where Article 35 states that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. At a time when South Africans of conscience are opposing the Protection of Information Bill, claiming their own right to know, it is entirely pertinent to be linking arms with other supporters of these essential freedoms.

Please join James Matthews, Margie Orford, Lynn Carneson, Ruth Carneson, Keith Gottschalk, Ken Barris, Kelwyn Sole, Karin Schimke and Liesl Jobson. Local poet, Johann de Lange, translated the poem “You Wait for me with Dust” for this occasion. A message of support from Denis Goldberg will be read at the event. Enjoy a glass of wine afterwards.

To attend the event, please RSVP to The Book Lounge via email:, or phone on 021 462 2425.