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Bestselling author Linwood Barclay boycotts U.S. to protest Trump's travel ban

Canadian thriller writer Linwood Barclay is known for keeping readers in suspense. But now the bestselling author will be keeping his American fans at a distance, after cancelling his scheduled U.S. public appearances as a form of protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

'The border right now looks like this enormous picket line'

Bestselling Canadian crime writer Linwood Barclay has cancelled his upcoming U.S. book events in protest of the Trump administration's controversial travel ban. (Nigel Hunt/CBC)

Canadian thriller writer Linwood Barclay is known for keeping readers in suspense. But now the bestselling author will be keeping his American fans at a distance, after cancelling his scheduled U.S. public appearances as a form of protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

"I started thinking, what if I were in line to cross the border and I were with that Iranian director who has been nominated for an Academy Award and now can't come to the Oscars? What would I tell him? What would I say to him as I waltz through to the U.S.?

I just don't feel comfortable going while this travel ban is in effect,' Barclay, a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen who said he didn't vote for Trump, told CBC News.

After announcing his decision on social media Monday, he received an outpouring of support from fans and readers.

"My Twitter feed has gone insane. I've heard from a lot of people who I would say 99 per cent support it," he said.

Barclay was slated to attend two book festivals in Arizona, but for now he's staying home. Even the organizers of the events he will no longer attend said they understood his decision, he added.  

"They said 'We hope we can have you back at a later date.' And I thought: 'Wow if I were them, I'd never invite me again.'"

Although Barclay hasn't heard of any other authors or artists following his lead, he described the decision as purely a personal one and not telling others what to do.

The bestselling Canadian-U.S. crime author on Trump's travel ban and his decision to cancel upcoming book events in the U.S. 1:25

"I'm not setting out to accomplish anything. I didn't go into this with any illusions I'm going to change the world," he said during an interview Tuesday at his Oakville, Ont. home.

"Steve Bannon in the White House [won't] say 'Gee Barclay's not coming. We better rethink everything.' I just have to be able to look in the mirror. Everyone else has to do what they want. If you want to go, go. But I just didn't feel I could do it.

"To me the border right now looks like this enormous picket line that's several times higher than the wall Trump wants to build and I don't feel comfortable crossing it."

As for the future, Barclay admitted he wasn't sure how long he would keep his protest up beyond the 90-day executive order travel ban. But he also noted that the administration's "outrages" are becoming a daily occurrence.

"Millions of us north and south of the border are looking ahead to the next four years and wondering what will we feel we have to do next to resist and fight back against what we feel are really unfair ideologically based decisions that are hateful." 

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