By Dan Walsh
Enniscorthy-born writer Colm Tóibín is amongst several Irish writers among one thousand signatories who have signed a letter condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to The Irish Post newspaper in London, PEN International, the literary and free expression organisation, released the letter over the weekend expressing solidarity with writers, journalists, artists, and the people of Ukraine, condemning the Russian invasion and calling for an immediate end to the bloodshed.
“We, writers around the world, are appalled by the violence unleashed by Russian forces against Ukraine and urgently call for an end to the bloodshed,” the letter reads.
“We stand united in condemnation of a senseless war, waged by President Putin’s refusal to accept the rights of Ukraine’s people to debate their future allegiance and history without Moscow’s interference.
“We stand united in support of writers, journalists, artists, and all the people of Ukraine, who are living through their darkest hours. We stand by you and feel your pain.”
They said all individuals have a right to peace, free expression and free assembly, and that Putin’s “war is an attack on democracy and freedom not just in Ukraine, but around the world.”
“We stand united in calling for peace and for an end to the propaganda that is fuelling the violence.
“There can be no free and safe Europe without a free and independent Ukraine.”
Colm Tóibín is the new Laureate for Irish Fiction, the Arts Council announced recently, for a three-year term.
The role seeks to acknowledge the contribution of fiction writers to Irish artistic and cultural life by honouring an established Irish writer of fiction, encouraging a new generation of writers, promoting Irish literature nationally and internationally and encouraging the public to engage with Irish fiction.
On his appointment, Colm Tóibín said; “I am honoured to be appointed Laureate. I am proud to follow Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry in establishing a public role for a writer of fiction in Ireland. I will do what I can to work with a community of readers so that fiction continues to enrich our lives, allow us to see the world more clearly, or with a deepened sense of mystery. I will also work with fellow writers and aspiring writers to enhance the role novels and stories play in Irish life.”