Alison Flood books/2018/feb/22/lionel-shriver-says-politically-correct-censorship-is-damaging-fiction

THANK YOU Lionel Shriver! What wisdom! And thank you Alison Flood and the Guardian for publishing this feature

In 2016 Claret Press published my novel Brushstrokes in Time which is mostly set in China. It was turned into an audio book which began to sell well  in the USA until it was criticised for ‘Cultural Appropriation’ because I am English  but wrote in the voice of a Chinese artist.

Brushstrokes in Time could not have been written safely by someone from China because it includes in its background history Wei Jingsheng and the Democracy Movement. I have taken an interest in Chinese history since I was at college in the sixties.  Reviewing an exhibition in 2005 I heard the story of the courageous Stars artists (1979 ) who include Ai Weiwei and I wondered why I had not known of them before. I wanted the world to celebrate them.

The historical background detail  to Brushstrokes in Time was the result of three years in depth interviewing  one of the founders of The Stars. His exhibition Qu Leilei  A Chinese Artist in Britain is currently at the Ashmolean (Oxford). I strongly recommend it.

As well as stifling imagination and empathy this crazy idea of Cultural Appropriation will also suppress the spread of knowledge of how to change the world for the better.