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John le Carre slams Swansea University language cuts

1st November 2010

Bestselling author John le Carre has criticised Swansea University for considering making cuts to its modern languages department.

The university has proposed reducing the number of staff teaching modern languages from its current 22 to ten, sparking a campaign against the move.

Le Carre has joined a number of authors, Nobel Prize laureates and politicians who are protesting against the plans by sending a letter slamming the cuts for being 'contrary to all good sense'.

'We have only to travel abroad to be shamed by the linguistic versatility of our European neighbours, as compared with our own ignorance of their culture and language,' the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy author's letter said.

German authors Elfriede Jelinek and Herta Muller, both past recipients of the Nobel Prize for literature, have spoken out about the cuts, as have crime writers Val McDermid and Andrew Taylor.

Professor Noel Thompson, pro vice-chancellor at Swansea University, told WalesOnline that the institution is attempting to 'rebalance' its activities in light of budget cuts and could be forced to make 'tough decisions'.

Recently, Indian-born writer Rohinton Mistry hit out at Mumbai University for taking his Booker Prize-shortlisted Such a Long Journey off its curriculum after it became the target of protests by a political group.

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