Simon Tonkin is named Liberty's '80th Writer'

10 December 2014

Liberty has today announced that Simon Tonkin has won its ‘80th Writer’ competition for his poem, Calais Plage.
To mark 80 years of protecting rights and freedoms, Liberty invited 79 leading voices in literature, including Ali Smith, Malorie Blackman and Kathy Lette, to write an original piece inspired by the idea or word ‘Liberty’ – and launched a UK-wide contest to find a previously unpublished 80th writer to join the acclaimed line-up.
Simon’s winning poem, Calais Plage, challenges the reader to view UK policies through the eyes of those on the receiving end – and warns against complacency when it comes to protecting and preserving human rights.
Simon said: “I actually wrote Calais Plage while travelling on the ferry to Calais and became more aware of the situation as we approached. I felt so desperately sorry for the plight of these people – if I was in their shoes, I’d be trying to do exactly what they’re doing.
“I’m very passionate about human rights and can’t believe they’re under threat now from our own Government, in our own country. It’s about eternal vigilance, we must never let our guard down or human rights will take a real tumble.”

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “Writers have always been a part of Liberty, at the forefront of the fight to protect civil liberties for 80 long years. We are delighted to welcome Simon into this esteemed group on Human Rights Day.”

Contact: Liberty Press Office on 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831128
1.    Competition entrants were asked to send in a piece of no more than 500 words on the word or idea ‘Liberty’, in any format – essay, fiction or poetry.
2.    The competition was judged by Shami Chakrabarti, Hari Kunzru, Kathy Lette, Simon Prosser and Ali Smith.
3.    Shortlisted entries can be read here.
4.    All 80 pieces, including Simon Tonkin’s Calais Plage can be read here, or downloaded as a book here.