Has the Kuwait book ban been overturned?

The just-ended Kuwait Book Fair attracted a lot of unwelcome international attention this year thanks to what were often wildly irrational censorship decisions resulting in 700 books banned in 2018 and over 4,000 books banned in the last few years. But has that censorship ban just been overturned by the judiciary? One report from Alqabas Read More …

New import duties on books hits Iraqi publishing sector. Some claim it’s censorship by taxation

Iraq has enjoyed relative publishing freedom in recent years, but there are signs that might be coming to an end. New import duties are pushing up the price of books to Iraqi consumers, but is this just an ill-advised taxation issue or an attempt to control what Iraqi’s can read? Writing for The Arab Weekly, Read More …

The Arab Renaissance set back by worsening censorship in Kuwait. Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov among 1,000 titles banned at Kuwait Book Fair

After the resounding success of the Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE, extolling a message of cultural tolerance and publishing freedom, the Arab literary arena was this week plunged into controversy once more as the Kuwait International Literary Festival kicked off. Running November 14 through 24 the Kuwait event was already standing in the Read More …

Kurdistan’s 13th Erbil Int. Book Fair reminds us censorship is a balancing act, not a line in the sand

38 books have been prevented from sale at the 13th Erbil International Book Fair in Iraq’s Kurdistan, and the silence from the freedom of speech supporters has been deafening. In stark contrast to the outrage occasioned by Kuwait’s (admittedly larger scale) censorship – A mermaid wearing a bra among the books banned in Kuwait, but Read More …

It’s Banned Books Week. Spare a thought for a French book banned in Italy this year

The winner of the Prix Albert Londres 2018 will be announced in Istanbul on October 22. Yes, a French literary prize awarded in Turkey. The award is the creation of the daughter of the celebrated French author Florise Martinet-Londres, and the awards ceremony this year, writes Actualitté’s Antoine Oury, has a strong symbolic significance. A delegation Read More …

2020 World Book Capital’s censorship double standards: It’s one rule for Malay titles and another if the book is in English

There were many raised eyebrows this past week when UNESCO declared Kuala Lumpur would be the World Book Capital in 2020. Because while there’s no question Malaysia is making great strides to advance literacy and literary endeavours, that is happening in the dark shadow of official censorship. The Malaysian government has promised to repeal the Read More …