More Than 400 Writers Sign Petition Protesting Donald Trump


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A sign outside a Trump fund-raiser in Lawrenceville, N.J., last week.

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Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Donald J. Trump has been working to mend fences with many of his detractors, but among literary luminaries it is looking like it will be a tough sell.

A group of more than 400 writers, including big names such as Stephen King, David Eggers, Amy Tan, Junot Díaz and Cheryl Strayed, released an online petition on Tuesday to express their opposition to Mr. Trump’s candidacy on the grounds that he is appealing to the darkest elements in American society.

“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response,” they wrote.

Organized on the literary website Lithub, signatures on the petition grew to more than 1,000 from 450 within hours as celebrity authors promoted their participation on social media.

In the open letter, the authors voiced concern that the United States was taking a step back toward a nativist past and warned that dictatorships tend to emerge in the wake of “manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies.”

Although the authors are not holding back in their disgust with the presumptive Republican nominee, Mr. Trump does seem to be getting their creative juices flowing.

Lyz Lenz, a writer from Iowa, wrote an essay on Lithub that was published on Tuesday making the case that Mr. Trump’s rise evokes images from the work of William Faulkner, particularly the corrupt character Flem Snopes.

“America is burning,” she writes. “You might not see the flames, but you can smell the smoke. And we’ve been set on fire by one man — Donald Trump, a Flem Snopes of our modern-era.”

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