On November 15 last year, international writers' organisation PEN highlighted the cases of five writers who were victims of persecution. Two on the list – Miroslava Breach Velducea who was murdered in Mexico in 2017 and Dawit Isaak who disappeared in Eritrea 17 years ago – are no longer able to speak for themselves. The other three – Oleg Sentsov, Wael Abbas and Shahidul Alam (since released), were imprisoned in Russia, Egypt and Bangladesh respectively. They are but a small sample of 700 to 900 cases of persecution – ranging from forced exile and hiding to death threats and murder – against authors every year. This year Brighton Festival showcases a handful of authors still writing in very precarious circumstances wherever they are in the world in our ‘Writers at Risk’ Gallery.