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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Teju Cole have joined a group of more than 50 prominent writers—including Philip Roth, Margaret Atwood and George Saunders—who have co-signed a letter to China’s president, Xi Jinping. The Guardian reports that the letter, which was organised by PEN America and also open to the public for signatures, is aimed at persuading Xi Jinping to release Liu Xia, the wife of deceased Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, “who has been under house arrest since 2010 despite never being accused of any crime.”

Part of the letter reads:

“We urge you to lift all remaining restrictions against Liu Xia, and to ensure her freedom of speech, her freedom to meet with others, and her freedom to travel. Liu Xia has undergone great suffering for many years, simply for being the wife of a man that China has deemed to be a dissident.

“She is in poor health, she is isolated from those who care for her, and she is grieving deeply for the loss of her husband.”

Teju Cole.

The Guardian‘s report continues:

Liu Xiaobo died at 61 from cancer in July, under heavy police guard in a hospital in northeast China. He was serving an 11 year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. His wife Liu Xia was almost immediately cut off from the outside world, confined to her apartment in Beijing.

Adichie and Teju Cole are no strangers to political interventions; in fact, both have made headlines in the past for their solid oppositions. In Nigeria, after the anti-gay law was passed in 2014, Adichie was one of the very, very few notable Nigerians to oppose it in a brilliantly argued essay. And in 2016, following the terrorist attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Teju Cole led more than 200 writers to oppose PEN America’s giving of the PEN/James and Toni C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the magazine, arguing how Charlie Hebdo‘s work has promoted racism and hate.

Find out more HERE.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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