“Are you published?” It’s the first question an industry outsider will ask, while a fellow writer will get to it eventually, however tactfully. “So tell me about your work!”

But being unpublished in a free land is not the same as being unpublishable in a not-so-free one. On my nation’s Independence Day, I’m thinking of an international social media “friend” who once shared her anguish with us: as a woman, she’s not allowed to publish in her own country, so she courageously posted her story online.

I’m counting my blessings. And I’m also counting hers. Here online, borders don’t hold long. “Let freedom ring.”

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.