Appiah’s letter was endorsed by a number of prominent PEN members, among them Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Jhumpa Lahiri, and several of the writers who rallied for Liu Xiaobo on New Year’s Eve, including Edward Albee, E.L. Doctorow, and A.M. Homes (pictured right is a sign from the rally; the photo was taken by Brian Montopoli).
Vaclav Havel, Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama have also asked the Nobel committee to consider Liu for the Peace Prize.
Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, “said it would be a mistake to give Liu such an award,” according to Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan of Reuters:
“If the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to such a person, it is obvious that it is totally wrong,” Ma told a regular news briefing in Beijing, without elaborating.No citizen of China has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Meanwhile, according to the AP, the head of Norway’s Conservative Party, Erna Solberg, nominated Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and her group Memorial for the Prize. PEN worked with Memorial to honor Natalia Estemirova, who was affiliated with Memorial, in October. Estemirova herself spoke with David Remnick about slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya at a 2006 PEN World Voices event; you can listen to their conversation at PEN.org.