Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan has been banned from appearing at a childrens’ creative writing workshop by Sheffield City Council, over fears he might make “political comments”.
The event was due to take place at Upperthorpe Library, and was intended to highlight the value of public libraries. The cancellation was reported earlier today by Library Workers For A Brighter Future, a group working in opposition to proposed cuts to public libraries. The cancellation was later confirmed by a spokesperson for Mr McMillan.
McMillan, 55, said: “Libraries are a vital and irreplaceable part of a cultured and civilised society, and one of the few public places left where you don’t have to pay to get in.”
Sheffield’s libraries are expected to see a £2.5m cut in funding by 2013/14.
A spokesperson for Library Workers For A Brighter Future said: “The event, conceived as a fun and creative way of highlighting the value of public libraries, appears to have caused great concern for the council, with the decision over whether it should be allowed to go ahead passed all the way up to members of the senior management. We view this as a misguided and heavy-handed attempt to silence those of us who want to stand up for our library service and oppose the potentially devastating public sector cuts.”
SheffieldPolitics has contacted Sheffield City Council, who were unable to confirm the reason for the cancellation at the time of publication.