We asked 80 writers to compose a piece on the theme of Liberty. Here are the results.See moreless

Writers, as the poet Jo Shapcott has said, are what might be called Liberty's natural constituency. Writers have to be at liberty, since both expression and the issues of the freedom of that expression, are at the core of writing anything.

Today these liberties are under increased threat, both locally and globally, not just for writers, but for everybody. And not just in pressurised times, but all of the time, Liberty, an organisation that's never been politically partisan, simply protects human rights and civil liberties.

As writers, we celebrate and endorse the past 80 years and the vital presence now and in the future of an organisation which has, since its start, been formed, informed and understood by writers – at liberty, for liberty.

Simon Prosser and Ali Smith

Download the Writers at Liberty - 80 pieces for 80 years book.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

I was born in Kampala, Uganda, then ruled by the British...

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Anthony Anaxagorou
Anthony Anaxagorou

There will be revenge
but it will be different from yours...

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Lisa Appignanesi
Lisa Appignanesi

At my ordinary Canadian comprehensive, we started Latin at the age of thirteen. I loved it...

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Chloe Aridjis
Chloe Aridjis

Cages come in all shapes and sizes. Some are portable, others fixed in place...

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Tash Aw
Tash Aw

This is a photo of my grandfather, who moved from southern China to Malaysia not long after the First World War...

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Julian Barnes
Julian Barnes

Idealists like to claim that freedom is indivisible...

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Damian Barr

"We’re leavin," says my Mum.

It’s midnight.  A million mirrored shards of Logan litter the bedroom floor, all of them staring at us...

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John Berger
John Berger

Mi Guapo,

Went to see your mother. All things considered, she’s not bad...

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* Bidisha

“Renaissance Florence was an excellent place for collecting documents. Mainly because they didn’t trust each other.”

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Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman

There are certain human rights which will remain inalienable only with constant vigilance...

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Rosie Boycott
Rosie Boycott

In the autumn in 1982, I delivered the manuscript of A Nice Girl Like me to my publishers, Chatto and Windus...

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Margaret Busby
Margaret Busby

For your birthday

I wanted to dance and sing

but...

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Georgia Byng

When I was seven, I wrote my first book. It was rude. I was desperate to write it...

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Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti

Writers have always been at Liberty...

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Ian Cobain
Ian Cobain

Eight-fifteen on a wintry Monday morning, and the small wooden door in the prison gatehouse swings open...

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Edmund De Waal

The problem is that I am in the wrong century to burn things...

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Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow

I was suckled on the Asimov Robots books, taken down off my father’s bookshelf and enjoyed again and again...

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Anne Donovan
Anne Donovan

The tar stuck tae the soles of wur shoes it was that hot. The march went on for miles, couldnae see the endy it...

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Tishani Doshi

Girls are coming out of the woods,
wrapped in cloaks and hoods...

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Stella Duffy
Stella Duffy

Liberty is human rights, with a small h and a small r, running alongside the capitals...

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Ian Dunt

There is a small preparatory school in Winchester called Pilgrims, which takes pupils from ages eight to 13...

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Joe Dunthorne
Joe Dunthorne

A boom or some fruit keeps bobbing into frame...

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Fernanda Eberstadt

Last August, a surreal kind of summer reading list was spirited out of Guantanamo Bay...

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Lauren Elkin
Lauren Elkin

‘Space is a doubt. I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It’s never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it.’
— Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

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Bernardine Evaristo
Bernardine Evaristo

Facebook Profile No 1...

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Michel Faber

This Friday night, like every other Friday night, Jimmy, Colin, Michelle and Pet meet each other at the usual street corner...

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Judith Flanders
Judith Flanders

On 16 August 2013, two Canadians were passing through Egypt on their way to Gaza...

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Hadley Freeman
Hadley Freeman

When I was nine years old and still living in New York...

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Esther Freud
Esther Freud

When my mother was young she used to wear a Liberty Bodice...

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Janice Galloway
Janice Galloway

when no one asks awkward questions we turn into..

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Niven Govinden
Niven Govinden

There’s a reason why they called you rather than someone else...

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Lavinia Greenlaw
Lavinia Greenlaw

It was the fact of what happened.
It stood before us like a locked dimension...

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Niall Griffiths
Niall Griffiths

Remember this: that Winston Smith used a pen and paper...

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Peter Hobbs
Peter Hobbs

There are no rights in nature...

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Tom Hodgkinson
Tom Hodgkinson

THERE HAVE BEEN various expressions of surprise lately...

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Rachel Holmes
Rachel Holmes

This is a story a friend of mine told me about going to university in Cape Town in 1970s apartheid South Africa.

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M.J Hyland

We go through an entrance at the side of the cop station...

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Sadie Jones
Sadie Jones

Liberty is not of the air but of the earth. It is part of our base structure. Love and liberty are at the origin.

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Jackie Kay
Jackie Kay

Stop! Search your heart.
Ask yourself what is your real motivation...

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Hari Kunzru
Hari Kunzru

Liberty is the physical freedom to move around, to grow and develop.

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Olivia Laing
Olivia Laing

I've been trying to write this piece for weeks now, and I can't...

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Nikita Lalwani

I am with him in his workspace, a narrow box of a room, as he talks...

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Darian Leader
Darian Leader

It is always dangerous to act in the name of a concept without questioning both its meaning and its function...

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Kathy Lette
Kathy Lette

“Freedom”. It sounds like I’m about to market you a new brand of tampon...

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Deborah Levy

Liberty means never having to look into the eyes of a human being who has no rights...

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Richard Mabey

A robin, a cage.
Blake rages...

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Alison MacLeod
Alison MacLeod

Everywhere in Tottenham that evening, you could smell summer...

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Sabrina Mahfouz

Once upon a time there was a child called Libby...

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Lise Mayer
Lise Mayer

When I was seven I went on my own to stay with my grandmother...

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Sophie Mayer

In the library, I read...

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Hollie McNish
Hollie McNish

If it were me, you wouldn’t do that...

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Michael Morpurgo

...we will be reflecting no doubt on the reasons that dreadful conflagration was ever allowed to happen...

 

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Blake Morrison
Blake Morrison

This poem is a surveillance device...

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Tiffany Murray

When Dieter Sugar backed out of the long shed that edged the Hall’s red gardens...

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Daljit Nagra
Daljit Nagra

Last night I dreamt we’re country neighbours...

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Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness

"Liberty is the freedom to say, 'I don't know' and to keep on searching...

 

 

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Lawrence Norfolk
Lawrence Norfolk

When I was at college, sometime in the previous century, I attended a series of lectures on 'Common Moral Themes'...

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Richard Norton-Taylor
Richard Norton-Taylor

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties”...

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Ben Okri
Ben Okri

Those Wings with which
We soar beyond
The mesh of time...

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Maggie O’Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell

Liberty: it conjures up not words but an image of a woman in profile, her eyes focused, her expression grave...

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Catherine O’Flynn
Catherine O’Flynn

Irfan was run over by a van outside the shop...

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Shyama Perera
Shyama Perera

Albert watched the van make its way slowly down the High Road. It stopped outside Londis, where he’d just picked up a sandwich for his lunch...

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Hannah Pool
Hannah Pool

Meltem Avcil was 13 years old, living in Doncaster, when they came for her and her mother...

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Ross Raisin
Ross Raisin

Her sister is still trying on perfumes in the duty-free shop...

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Alice Rawsthorn

Sitting in a vitrine at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is a series of rather raggedy pamphlets...

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James Robertson
James Robertson

I was in my office at the back of the house and had just finished doing my emails when the doorbell rang...

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Hannah Rothschild
Hannah Rothschild

The word Liberty has many important, evocative connotations but, first and foremost, it reminds me of a female relation...

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Kamila Shamsie
Kamila Shamsie

Immediately after they overthrew the government, the people gathered outside the Tower...

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Owen Sheers
Owen Sheers

I met her once, two years before she died...

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Nikesh Shukla

‘What do black people use as toothbrush?’ Uncle Rakesh asks Raju, giggling...

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Hardeep Singh Kohli
Hardeep Singh Kohli

d

A simple letter placed at the end of a twelve syllable text message...

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Ali Smith
Ali Smith

I had been planning to write this story about the ashes of DH Lawrence...

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Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

Today, an ordinary person can't pick up the phone, email a friend or order a book without comprehensive...

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Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif

Three years into our bitterly contested Egyptian revolution I understand better than ever...

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Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor

Liberty is a woman. From the Roman goddess Libertas, to Delacroix’s bare-breasted Marianne...

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Craig Taylor
Craig Taylor

‘You missed a call,’ she said when he returned to the table. She motioned to the phone next to his glass...

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Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest

So free, we walk the streets with purpose...

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Simon Tonkin
Simon Tonkin

...the turbid ebb and flow of human misery...

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Erica Wagner
Erica Wagner

A fifteen-minute walk from my house. Perhaps a bit less, if I’m in a hurry...

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Marina Warner
Marina Warner

The dictator is on the rampage and his people are crying out in despair... 

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While government watches you, who watches the government?