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Novelists Dan Brown and Irvine Welsh speak up about Catalonia

Irvine Welsh criticizes EU’s silence on the jailing of grassroots civil society leaders

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17 October 2017 01:21 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Novelists Dan Brown and Irvine Welsh usually write very different books about different unequivocally different subjects. Yet, they’ve both spoken up at the same time about a new topic: the situation in Catalonia.  

Dialogue is critical

Dan Brown, best known for his novel The DaVinci Code was recently in Barcelona for the release of the latest book in the series, Origin, also set in the city. Brown commented on the situation in Catalonia by describing it as a “heartbreaking and troubled time.” He drew parallels between Catalonia and the United States, and cautioned that “it is most important in times of trouble that we protect normalcy.”

According to the novelist, this indeed means working “doubly hard, to make sure that the dialogue continues.” This conversation, he said, is “absolutely critical” in “times of trouble.” He also said that it’s necessary to “take the time to listen to people,” and to be “respectful with each other’s ideas.”

Still, Brown said that he’s “very optimistic” that this dialogue is “exactly” what will happen in Catalonia, adding that he has “sincere hope that everything will be worked out.” 

  • "If the EU accepts its own citizens being made into political prisoners by a repressive government, UK won't be the last state it will lose"
    Irvine Welsh · Novelist

Political prisoners by a repressive government

Irvine Welsh, Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer best known for his book Trainspotting, has instead taken to social media to condemn the latest occurrence. He specifically attacked the imprisonment of grassroots pro-independence leaders awaiting investigation for sedition.

Mr. Welsh’s first reaction was to write that he “can’t believe the lovely people” that he and Guardian journalist Suzanne Moore “met in Barcelona have been charged with sedition.”  He ends adding that “They are as seditious as Mavis Riley,” referencing an elderly character on the British television show Coronation Street.

The writer also went on to criticize the EU’s silence. “If the EU accepts its own citizens being made into political prisoners by a repressive government, UK won't be the last state it will lose,” he said.

Mr. Welsh has been a supporter of Catalan right to self-determination for some time. He is one of the 16 international personalities who signed the Let Catalans Vote manifesto earlier this year, but he also witnessed the Via Lliure mass rally in 2015. He was in fact personally invited to participate by the organizing groups Catalan National Assembly (ACN) and Òmnium Cultural, along with various other activists and academic personalities.

Sedition for peaceful protests

In fact, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of the ACN and Òmnium Cultural respectively, were jailed on Monday, October 16, after the Spanish prosecutor requested they be remanded without bail. The two civil society leaders are accused of sedition, specifically for the organization of peaceful protest rallies in the last month. These charges can carry prison sentences of up to 15 years in Spain. 

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  • Novelist Dan Brown at a press conference in Barcelona on 17 October (by ACN)

  • Novelist Dan Brown at a press conference in Barcelona on 17 October (by ACN)