Friday, August 27, 2010

BC Ferries Awash in Controversy

BC Ferries has banned the sale of The Golden Mean by Canadian author Annabel Lyon in their gift shops. While most books are challenged over content, The Golden Mean is being kept off of BC Ferries because of the cover which depicts a naked male figure whose buttocks are exposed. The ban has gained the attention of papers around the world who have picked up the story, including The Guardian in the UK and The New Yorker.

According to the Vancouver Sun, "BC Ferries has a habit of banning books that feature nudity of any kind. Stephen Vogler's Only in Whistler was banned in 2009 because it featured a historical photo of four naked female skiers viewed from the rear. Two years ago, Wreck Beach, a history of Vancouver's nude beach, was banned for similar reasons."

Deborah Marshall, a spokesperson for B.C. Ferries defended the policy, explaining that there are children in the gift shops and that they are a "family show." The suggestion that BC Ferries carry the book if there was a "belly band" hiding the photo was rejected by Random House. Books for the bookstore are chosen by a committee and according to Mitchell, "We choose to select non-controversial books in our gift shop."

Craig Spence, president of the Federation of British Columbia Writers expressed his concern, saying the ban was "an overreaction to a photo that's artistic ... are you going to stop kids from seeing Michelangelo's David? The kinds of graphic material that kids are exposed to, through advertising and other media all the time, go much farther than that, and they're not in a context that would give it the justification."

The Golden Mean is a fictional account of a young Alexander the Great during the time when Aristotle was his tutor. It has received wide acclaim and has been considered for numerous awards.

WINNER 2009 - Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
FINALIST 2009 - Scotiabank Giller Prize
FINALIST 2009 - Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction
FINALIST 2010 - Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Canada & Caribbean)
FINALIST 2010 - in Canada First Novel Award
FINALIST 2010 - BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
FINALIST 2010 - Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award - Fiction Book of the Year
FINALIST 2010 - Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award - Author of the Year

Annabel Lyon is a BC writer.


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Anonymous said...

Bc Ferries-Get lot of enjoy on BC ferries between Victoria and Vancouver BC.

fahrenheit451moderator said...

Thank you BC Ferries for that generic comment. All I can say is that people must not be having THAT much fun if they are looking to kill time by reading.