Julian Barnes mentioned Britain was a “divided place as of late” and accused politicians of encouraging “mysticism”.
Barnes, who gained the Booker Prize in 2011 for The Sense of an Ending, has been patron of Freedom from Torture – a charity which gives therapeutic care to torture survivors searching for safety within the UK – for 25 years.
Talking forward of a literary occasion hosted by the charity on Thursday, Barnes mentioned: “Britain is such a divisive place as of late and politicians usually encourage imply spirit. However most of the citizens take a broader and extra beneficiant strategy to what it ought to imply to be a citizen of a free nation.”
Thursday’s occasion on the London Library will probably be hosted by comic and actor Alexei Sayle and can embody readings from Barnes in addition to different notable writers comparable to Alan Hollinghurst, Elif Shafak and Inua Ellams. There may even be performances from Write to Life, which is the UK’s longest operating refugee writing group and the one one particularly for torture survivors.
Many of those individuals could have fled international locations with restrictions on freedom of expression, and a few of them could have been tortured for their very own writing. “One other factor to notice is that those that have been tortured usually — actually — lose their voice,” Barnes added. “I simply cannot speak about what occurred to them. However writing helps unlock what they will inform us, and we flip to teams like Write to Life to speak their tales.”
The Freedom from Torture Literary Pageant, which ran all through November, additionally included an interactive literary public sale, with prizes together with: changing into a personality named within the subsequent Margaret Atwood or Lee Baby novel; a weekend in Tracy Chevalier’s Dorset cottage in Tess of the Land of the d’Urbervilles; and a primary version of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
Cash raised from the public sale – which ends on Thursday evening – and different competitions and occasions will assist fund the charity, which inspires its purchasers to observe the humanities for self-expression and clarify what occurred to them. It gives a variety of programs in inventive remedy, writing, music and gardening to assist individuals course of trauma.
“As a matter of charity, torture will not be a straightforward promote and we’re all outraged by torture,” Barnes mentioned. “The perform of the humanities is to talk the reality, usually or largely, to deaf or half-open ears, and to proceed to take action.”
Barnes’ honors additionally embody the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and the Jerusalem Award.
He mentioned he would learn poems by Edna St Vincent Millay, Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy on the literary occasion to match its theme, A New Chapter.