Million Mile Walker Dispatch, Growing Threats to Our Freedom of Expression, August, 2022


Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,

I just sent out a multimedia press release about my new book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, picked up by newspapers worldwide, including several articles in daily news journals in London, Singapore, India, and Denver, among other places.

September 18-24 is the Celebration of Banned Book Week, so I’m focusing on the growing threats to the freedom of expression in Culture Watch. As always, I will share My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews, which include an interview by Global TV Talk Show, Voices of the Day, What Others Are Saying, and an updated Calendar.

 Cultural Watch

Freedom of expression takes many forms. The number of educational gag orders introduced in 2022 has increased by 250%. PEN America just produced a special report, America’s Censored Classroom, which provides more details. I just heard disturbing news on NPR that a conservative Christian group is forcing public libraries in South Louisiana to remove books about sexuality, race, and gender and targeting the state’s Librarian of the Year for her opposition. When interviewed, the Librarian of the year was crying because she feared for her life and that of her child.


I recently reported on the incarceration of a respected editor in Guatemala, Jose Ruben Zamora, to my friends at PEN America. I’m proud to say that they condemned the Guatemalan government and innumerable human rights and freedom of the press groups within several days. Zamora is the founder of three Guatemalan newspapers and has been a critic of the growing corruption in the Guatemalan government.


Last week, author Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage while lecturing in the peaceful town of Chautauqua, New York. He wrote “The Satanic Verses,” which resulted in a fatwa (an Islamic decree threatening his life) from Iran’s religious leader.


Guatemalan author Francisco Goldman wrote a compelling article in the New York Times condemning Jose Ruben Zamora’s incarceration and read passages from The Satanic Verses in honor of the injured Rushdie on U-Tube.


In a presentation at the Arizona Professional Writers group in September, I’ll address yet another assault on the freedom of expression. Gone are the days when publishing was geared toward offering new writers the chance to connect with readers, now as Penguin Random House, the largest English language book publisher in the world, is merging with Simon & Schuster. This puts bookstores and authors at risk. So, what are most authors to do?


My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews

Ed Cohen, the host of Global TV Talk Show, asked revealing questions about my writing, career, the publishing industry, and immigration issues, including the “mess” on our southern border. Ed has done over 500 interviews, and 20% of them are with writers.

Fellow Returned Peace Corps volunteer Ursula Pike provides a unique, Native American perspective on volunteering and living in Bolivia. During her initial days in Bolivia, she was sure the local Quechua-speaking population would appreciate all they had in common since she was from the Karuk peoples in Oregon—she was wrong… I heard her speak at the Phoenix Writers Network. She has a fantastic story to tell.

What Others Are Saying


“…so, would you walk a million miles for a cause you loved? Mark did it” –Ed Cohen, the host of Global Talk TV, in a recent interview.


Voices of the Day

The horrific attack on Salman Rushdie reminds us not only of the dangers of losing our freedom of speech but the danger of those who want to take it away. Senator Claire Chandler



September 10, I’m giving a Zoom presentation at the Arizona Professional Writers group: Consolidation in American Literature /publisher puts authors and bookstores at risk. What is the small guy to do?

  • September 18, I’ll attend an event PEN America is hosting at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, to celebrate Banned Book Week.

  You can find my 60 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos, on my website, including a reduced price for my new book if you read it and pass it along to your local library. “Follow” me on Twitter., @millionmile_wal, and Facebook at for the latest on international affairs and literature. And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond,” rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it or, better still, purchase my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road.


Mark D. Walker


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