Saturday, April 26, 2008

Words Without Borders Literary Tour

(Graphic VU Weekly)
Edmonton's Vue Weekly recently featured an article entitled Writers Without Borders which highlights speakers who were recently on tour with PEN Canada’s Words Without Borders: a literary tour for freedom of expression.

Rita Espeschit, a children's author originally from Brazil, explains that Canada is not exempt from censorship on a couple of levels.
The challenged books that you see here are usually children’s books. All those Christian parents who don’t like something want [books about that subject] banned from schools. In the area of writing for children, there’s almost an institutionalised self-censorship that happens, not just on the level of writing but at the editing level, too. Publishers are very sensitive about anything people would get angry about in a book. [This anger] is too carefully avoided; there’s a sterilized universe to the books that’s not real life.

While Canada is not exempt from censorship, authors do not experience the kinds of consequences that authors in repressive countries experience. Jalal Barazanji, a poet and journalist from Iraq spent three years in jail for his writing. Now living in Canada, he has taken a position in Edmonton as their first “writer-in-exile.”

Other authors on the tour include: David Albahari, a writer and translator from Serbia and Sheng Xue, of China who moved to Canada soon after the June 4th Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Don't forget to check out the Pelham Public Library's "Banned Book Challenge."

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