Novelist and critic Lisa Appignanesi has been elected as the twenty-fourth President of the writers’ organisation English PEN.
Appignanesi has announced a campaign to repeal the law of blasphemous libel.
"Despite significant victories, the battle for imaginative free expression is far from over," she said. "This year has seen the sentencing of Samina Malik simply for possessing books and poems, whilst the film of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane almost didn’t happen because of censorious protests. Meanwhile, the producers of Jerry Springer the Opera continue to be threatened with charges of blasphemy. The law of blasphemous libel is not only obsolete; it contravenes our right to free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It has no place in our plural society, where it can only divide people of different faiths and none. It is high time that the law of blasphemous libel is revoked."