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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A jewel of common sense

Oh, goody! A Danish publisher (appropriate that it should be Danish, considering the Motoons affair) wants to publish Sherry Jones’s novel about Mohammed’s infant bride Aisha, which Random House gutlessly pulled in fear of Islamic whingeing or whining or marching or demanding or shouting or violence (select and permutate as you will).

The Jewel of Medina was reportedly bought by Random House for an advance of $100,000, but academics and security experts warned against publication. So self-censorship became evident once again.

About a week ago, the Serbian publisher BeoBook withdrew a thousand copies from shops across Serbia, after protests from an Islamic pressure group. BeoBook also (again gutlessly) apologised for publishing the novel.

A small Danish publisher, Trykkefrihedsselskabets Library (which means Free Speech Library), is now in negotiation with Sherry Jones’s agent over publication of the meticulously researched novel in Denmark.

“Co-owner Helle Merete Brix said that the fact that Random House was prepared to pay $100,000 for the book showed its quality, and that she was determined not to ‘bow to any censorship’,” the Guardian (linked to above) tells us.

Good for Trykkefrihedsselskabets Library. A blow against censorship and for free speech. I hope it's a bestseller.

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