Saturday, May 12, 2007

Internationally Banned Books

The International Freedom to Publish Committee offers the following list of books that are banned around the world. They are described as "a small representation of the many books throughout the world that are challenged, banned, or, in other, often devious ways, denied publication for political reasons."

Arenas, Reinaldo
Translated by Dolores M. Koch. Before Night Falls. Viking; Penguin. Arenas wrote this memoir in exile. None of Arenas's books is published or available in his native Cuba.

Aung Sang Suu Ky
Freedom from Fear and Letters from Burma. Penguin. The author was under house arrest in Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma), during the original publication of the first book, and neither book is published or distributed in Burma, where the author still lives.

Dowd, Siobhan.ed.
This Prison Where I live: The PEN Anthology of Imprisoned Writers. Cassell. This collection includes works by many writers who are still banned in their native country. Banned writers in the collection include Jack Mapanje (Malawi), Ahmad Shamloo (Iran), and Reza Baraheni (Iran).

Duong Thu Huong
Translated by Phan Huy Duong and Nina McPherson. Novel Without a Name and Paradise of the Blind. Morrow; Penguin. Huong was imprisoned for seven months in Vietnam without trial on charges of "sending state secrets abroad." The "state secrets" were her novel, Novel Without a Name. As reported by the New York Times, her books are effectively banned; all the publishing houses are government publishing houses, and they will not reprint her old books nor will they publish her new books. The Times reported that booksellers are too scared to stock samizdat copies.

Farah, Nuruddin

Secrets. Arcade Publishing. Farah has been in exile from Somalia for the past twenty years. Secrets is effectively banned in Somalia.

Gyatso, Palden
Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk. Grove-Atlantic Monthly. Banned in Tibet.

Larson, Charles R.ed.
Under African Skies: Modern African Stories. Farrar; Noonday Press. An anthology that includes writers such as Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was recently executed in Nigeria. It includes a piece by Ngugi Wa Thiongo, whose works are banned in his native Kenya.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Translated by Max Lane. This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass. Morrow; Penguin. These four novels, which make up the Buru quartet, were composed by the author during his fourteen years of imprisonment in Indonesia without trial. Students have served prison terms of more than six years on subversion charges which resulted from an arrest for selling copies of these books.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Translated by Willem Samuels. The Mute's Soliloquy. Hyperion. A memoir of the author's years as a political prisoner. Banned in Indonesia.

Sahebjam, Freidoune
Translated by Richard Seaver. The Stoning of Soraya M. Arcade Publishing. Sahebjam lives in exile in France. Banned in Iran.

Valdes, Zoe
Translated by Sabina Cienfuegos. Yocandra in the paradise of Nada. Arcade Publishing. Banned in Cuba.

Wang Shuo
Translated by Howard Goldblatt. Playing for Thrills. Morrow; Penguin. This novel, along with all of Wang Shuo's other novels, was officially banned in China in 1996 as part of a "cultural cleansing campaign."

Wei Jingsheng
Translated by Kris Torgeson. The Courage to Stand Alone. Viking; Penguin. Wei was still in prison and incommunicado when the book was assembled and published. A Chinese-language edition was published in Taiwan and circulated around the world, but not on the mainland.

Yahia, Latif, with Karl Wendl.
I Was Saddam's Son. Arcade Publishing. After his escape from Iraq, the author sought refuge in Europe, where he was the subject of several assassination attempts. The book remains banned in Iran.

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