Poets John Ashbery, Jorie Graham, Michael Palmer, and Adrienne Rich are among more than a hundred authors who have signed an appeal for a "worldwide reading" on September 9 to protest the actions of Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe.
Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krause, and Zakes Mda, as well as Nobel Prize winners J. M. Coetzee and Günter Grass, have also signed the appeal launched by the International Literature Festival Berlin, an annual event organized by the Foundation for Art and Politics and the Berliner Festspiele and sponsored by the German Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
By asking authors to participate in the reading, or series of readings, which would be held in numerous countries around the world, the International Literature Festival Berlin hopes to draw attention to what organizers call Mugabe's human rights abuses. According to the appeal, these abuses date back to the early 1980s, when Mugabe implemented the Gukurahundi Operation, "the bloody murder of more than twenty thousand Ndebele people." Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe—first as its prime minister, then as its first president—for the past twenty-seven years.
For more information about the International Literature Festival Berlin, which takes place in July, and the Mugabe reading, visit the Web site.