The Macau Literary Festival organisation said today that the decision to cancel the participation of writers Jung Chang, Suki Kim and James Church in the event was taken after local authorities said their entry in Macau would not be guaranteed.
Hélder Beja, the program’s director and co-founder of the festival, told Radio Macau that he had been told “informally” that the presence of those three writers in Macau is ill-timed.
“We were informed, unofficially, that the entry of these writers in Macau – Jung Chang, Suki Kim and James Church – would not be guaranteed.
Beja also said that the organisers of the event did not want to put the authors in a difficult position and decided to cancel their presence in the festival.
“This situation goes far beyond the scope of this festival”, he said without giving details about the source that forced the cancelation of the writers’ participation in the festival.
The Macau Literary Festival had announced today that Jung Chang and Suki Kim would not attend this year’s edition scheduled to take place from Saturday 10 to March 25.
Jung Chang is the author of the bestselling memoire Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, and two controversial biographies, Mao: The Unknown Story and Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China. The first two books are banned in China.
Another writer who dropped out of the festival is Korean American Suki Kim, who published the award-winning novel The Interpreter and a New York Times nonfiction bestseller, Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite. Kim is the only writer to have ever lived undercover in North Korea for immersive journalism.
The organisation also said that James Church, the author of five detective novels featuring a North Korean policeman will not attend the festival.