It’s hard to write. But it’s harder not to.

Peter Cox, Founder

A Town Called Sue


That’s what m’learned friends call London – A Town Called Sue – because it’s the libel capital of the world, where the courts have become casinos for the international rich and powerful to become… even more rich and powerful.  No book is published in Britain without much consideration being given to possible libel charges… and many books are not published here that ought to be, because authors and publishers are terrified by the consequences of being sued.  That’s one of the chilling effects of libel laws that come straight out of the Middle Ages.

On this edition of The Debriefer, Donna speaks to Robert Sharp, Campaigns Manager for English PEN, the writers’ organisation that’s trying to reform all this.  You can read more about their campaign and the key issues in their excellent document “Free Speech is Not For Sale” – and show your support for them by joining here!

Photo by Steve Punter


Highlights from the Shop

Also in this series


The Dirty Dictionary

Not Our Fault – Honest – If The OED Goes All Potty-Mouth!

Salman Rushdie & Sherlock Homeboy

Plus Donald Trump & A Serial Killer...

Dark Hunter Vs Shadowhunter

When Super-Colossal Authors Collide

Just A Man And His Will To Survive

Go for the ribs, don't let that bastard breathe!

Ripped Off By The BBC?

Does The World’s Oldest Public Service Broadcaster Nick Ideas From Authors?

Serial Killers of the World Unite!

You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Reputation...

Gender Discrimination in Publishing

Looks Like It’s Tougher For Women To Get Published Than Men
A Gronking We’d Rather Forget

A Gronking We’d Rather Forget

Yet Another Freaky Fortnight In The High Weirdness That Is Publishing
Out Of It

Out of It

Donna Takes A Blow To The Head & Everything Gets Weirder

A Gronking To Remember

Nazis And Puppies And Cartoon Terrorists, Oh My!

Iguanas On The Roof…

...And Penguins In The Dock!
Fifty Shades of Greys

Lube Up For Falafel-Eating Love Honnies

There (Won’t) Be Blue Drones Over The White Cliffs of Dover
Gregory Peck

What Would Boo Radley Do?

Second Novel Syndrome Collides With An American Icon

What A Malarkey…

Boy Visits Heaven, Writes Bestseller, Recants! And More Faux News...

Terrorists 1, Enlightenment 0

Making a proper Charlie out of our freedoms
Gone Girl Stalks Reviewer

Gone Girl Stalks Reviewer

And The Internet Is Traumatized!
How How Became a No-Way No-How

How How Became a No-Way No-How

"yet another in a long line of farcical law suits..."
Deadmau5 Takes The Mickey

Deadmau5 Takes The Mickey

Some D00d Appears To Have Moved Your Cheese, Mr. Disney

Fun With Colours

Who Can’t Love A Farting Hippo?
Two And A Half Stories A Day

Two And A Half Stories A Day

Chicago To Hacks – Hack More Or We Sack You Hacks!

Colossal Ape Terrorises Wikipedia

Monkey See, Monkey Take Selfie, Monkey Sue You!

Kramer Versus The World

Featuring Harper Lee, Jose Antonio Vargas, Scarlett Johansson & Kramer from Seinfeld!
The Passion of The JK Rowling

The Passion of The JK Rowling

Pride Only Helps Us To Be Generous; It Never Makes Us So, Any More Than Vanity Makes Us Witty
Amazon Vs Hachette: A Struggle To The Death?

Amazon Vs Hachette: A Struggle To The Death?

They’re Not Eating Your Breakfast; You ARE Their Breakfast
Mark Thompson

NYT, BBC – What Did He Know?

Was The NYT’s Jill Abramson The Author Of Her Own Downfall?
Fighting Gravity

Fighting Gravity

You May Hate Gravity, But Gravity Doesn't Care.
The Banning of Captain Underpants

The Banning of Captain Underpants

Ask Yourself, Will I Burn In Hell?
The Sexual Shenanigans of Sherlock Holmes

The Sexual Shenanigans of Sherlock Holmes

Come, Watson, come! Into your clothes and come!
How To Negotiate With A Publisher

How To Negotiate With A Publisher

Someone's Having A Gay Old Time
Wake Up & Smell The Pr0n

Wake Up & Smell The Pr0n

Self-Publishing 1, Traditional Publishing 0
J Harper Lee

A Mockinbird Settles

It would be sort of like shooting a mockingbird, wouldn't it?
Harry Potter and the Unmarried Mother

Harry Potter and the Unmarried Mother

Step away from the Bar, JK – now!
Google Book Scan: The Verdict

Google Book Scan: The Verdict

"Fair Use" has just been redefined
Plagiarists With Testicles

Plagiarists With Testicles

Que te folle un pez
A Mockingbird Sues

A Mockingbird Sues

Atticus Finch Would Not Be Proud
Portland Goes Potty

Portland Goes Potty

Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet
Belle de Jour was my lover, not a prostitute

The Lady Is Not A Tramp?

It is a direct attack on my integrity as a writer to claim that I lied
I'm JK Rowling. Do Not Make Me Angry.

I’m JK Rowling. Do Not Make Me Angry.

You Would Not Like Me When I'm Angry.

How To Monetize Plagiarism (& Happy Birthday To You)

Jonah - step away from the word processor, NOW!
Rudyard Kipling

Mr. Kipling’s Exceedingly Fine Fakes

Your new-caught sullen peoples, half devil and half child
Of Leprechauns & Lawyers

Of Leprechauns & Lawyers

Top O' The Mornin' To Ya, Here's Ya Writ!
The Singing Dentist

The Singing Dentist

Teeth-Puller Pulls Reviews, Too
Get Up, Stand Up: Stand Up For Your Rights!

Get Up, Stand Up: Stand Up For Your Rights!

What happens if authors are left to write purely for love?

The First Sale Doctrine

That noise? It's Orwell gyrating in his grave

Miss Suzie’s House of Debauchery

Man is the only kind of varmint that sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.

The Game’s Afoot!

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact
Mal Peet

Death To All Hobbits!

Watch out, Middle-Earth - he's coming for you!