'80th Writer' Shortlist Announced

Posted by Ian McDonald on 21 November 2014

“If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people — a very few people, but a few novelists are among them — are trying to do this.” 
EM Forster, 1927

Writers have always been a part of Liberty. From the many authors who played their part in the birth of Liberty in 1934 – indeed EM Forster was our first President – to a special group of members, our ‘Writers at Liberty’, today, writers have been at the forefront of the fight to protect civil liberties for 80 long years. The link between the two is intrinsic. As our director has said that it’s not surprising that those with sufficient empathy and imagination to write feel a special affinity with human rights’ values and ideals.

As part of our 80th anniversary celebrations, we honoured this special relationship by asking 79 leading voices in literature to write a piece for us inspired by the idea or word ‘Liberty’. We then launched a competition to find the 80th 'Writer at Liberty'. Over the past few months entries have poured in from budding authors hoping to secure that last spot. Somehow the judges have managed to narrow them down to a shortlist of just four: 
•    Peter Jackson’s Untitled;
•    Kate Matthews’ Jack-in-the-box;
•    Simon Tonkin’s CALAIS PLAGE;
•    and My Box of Stones by Chris Keeling. 

We were lucky enough to have author Ali Smith as one of our judges. She was incredibly impressed with the quality of the writing and told us that the shortlist ‘ranges far and wide in style and subject and mightily impresses by opening up whole worlds - and on such a tight word count." 

Liberty’s 80th Writer will be revealed next month.