Satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo is again making waves in the literary world this week.
Last week, the PEN American Centre announced it will bestow this year’s Freedom of Expression Courage award on the controversial weekly publication.
Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices were attacked by Islamic extremists on January 7, 2015 and 11 employees were killed. The attack was supposedly a reaction to the magazine’s publication of what some have called blasphemous cartoons, including depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Shortly after the announcement, six writers, including Michael Ondaatje and Teju Cole, withdrew their participation as table hosts at Pen’s gala and 145 rights have signed an open letter protesting PEN’s choice. Signatories include Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Díaz and Donald Breckenridge.
Twitter weighs in
The debate continues on Twitter under the hastag #CharlieHebdo, with many expressing support for PEN’s choice.
Others are voicing their concern over the magazine’s perceived insensitivity in frequently targeting France’s marginalized Muslim community.