Liao Yiwu, Chinese dissident, poet, musician and author of The Corpse Walker and Other True Stories of Life in China, will finally be in Australia in November. Mr Liao was invited to the Sydney Writers' Festival in May this year, but was unable to attend when the Chinese government refused to grant him permission to leave the country.
His absence at festival events was marked by an empty chair on stage, International PEN’s symbol for a writer who cannot be present due to imprisonment, detention, disappearance or death.
Mr Liao now lives in exile in Berlin. He will be speaking at events in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne in late November (details here).
Watch some beautiful footage of Mr Liao performing and speaking at a PEN America event at the New School, New York (starts at 6.45):