Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

The backlash contiunes for The Jewel of Medina

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

The backlash contiunes for The Jewel of Medina

Postby Divia » Fri August 29th, 2008, 7:38 pm

Surfin the web today I found something interesting. It appears that The Langum Charitable Trust will not give an award to any books published by Random House becuase they choose not to publish The Jewel of Media.

I know some won't agree with me, but I like this stance. I mean it shows that censorship will not be tolerated.

Random House and Cowardly Self-Censorship

Random House recently dropped its plans to publish Sherry Jones’s book The Jewel of Medina solely on the grounds that its publication might be offensive to some in the Muslim community and might lead to acts of violence by radical Muslims. While any publisher has the right if not the duty to refuse to publish books that lack literary merit, Random House had previously decided this manuscript was highly publishable. It paid a $100,000 advance, and had arranged for foreign publication, Book of the Month Club selection, and Quality Paperback Book Club selection.

All that triggered Random House’s repudiation of its promise was the receipt of some fairly slight information that there might be violence. Serious ideas, even if offensive to some, flourish in books. Random House has exhibited a degree of cowardly self-censorship that seriously threatens the American public’s access to the free marketplace of ideas.

While this manuscript is not in any of our prize areas, Random House’s actions represent a threat to all literature. We understand that the author’s agent is attempting to find another publisher. Meanwhile, we can not pretend that this type of cowardice will disappear without serious remonstrance. Until The Jewel of Medina is actually published, The Langum Charitable Trust will not consider submissions of any books, for any of our prizes, from Random House or any of its affiliates. We do this reluctantly, since our most recent prize in American historical fiction went to a Random House title. Nevertheless, this issue must be confronted.

It is regrettable that with our national Banned Books Week only one month away, we still must concern ourselves with these issues.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri August 29th, 2008, 8:40 pm

Actually, I like it that there are consequences to Random House's choice. I think having people debate Muhammad's marital ethics is a good thing, not to mention the issue of a sixty-year-old man in a sexual relationship with a twelve-year-old girl.

I would just prefer not to be in the middle of that particular storm myself, as I have other fish to fry. And you can bet I'm not going to be discussing this one with my Muslim friends! But when it gets published (no doubt by some gutsy small press which will be helped rather than harmed by all the brouhaha) I will certainly buy a copy and read it.

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Fri August 29th, 2008, 8:57 pm

The Langum Charitable Trust is not punishing anyone but the authors who chosen to have their books published by Random House. These other authors have no say in what RH publishes or doesn't publish.

User avatar
Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Fri August 29th, 2008, 9:00 pm

I posted about this on my blog yesterday and, while I never agreed with Random House's decision, feel that this stance is totally misdirected. It affects Random House itself hardly at all; the prize isn't very well known, and the fact that one of their novels won last year isn't mentioned on their site. The people that lose out are their other historical novelists, whose eligibility has been affected because of something they had, and have, zero control over. It isn't like they can force another publisher to accept Jewel of Medina for publication, even if they wanted to!

I agree with what Quill and Quire wrote about the situation today: "Surely, condemning an author because of the actions of his or her publisher is also a threat to literary integrity."

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Fri August 29th, 2008, 9:10 pm

I see where you are coming from and to an extent I agree. But I really think something needs to be done about it. At least Langum is taking a stand and protesting RH's choice to listen to a few radicals.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:51 am

The only logical thing that can be done is to withdraw the manuscript and submit it elsewhere. And that's entirely up to the author.

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sat August 30th, 2008, 6:43 am

Isnt that what she is doing now? I thought she was shopping around.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
JaneConsumer
Reader
Location: U.S.
Contact:

Postby JaneConsumer » Sat August 30th, 2008, 11:27 am

Many may disagree with me, but I think RH's decision was a numbers thing. I imagine they assessed the potential profits of the book and weighed that against the potential liability and decided the risk wasn't financially viable. I can't fault them for that.

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Location: Maryland

Postby princess garnet » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:11 pm

There was a story about this in the "Washington Post" earlier this week. I wonder if the same stink would be raised if the author was Muslim.

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:52 pm

"princess garnet" wrote:There was a story about this in the "Washington Post" earlier this week. I wonder if the same stink would be raised if the author was Muslim.


Of course it wouldnt! However, I do find it interesting that the woman who put up the most stink also has a book coming out. Also there is another book like this called Mother of Believers. I've heard no protest about that one.

If Muslims dont like their history then thats not my problem. It is what it is. He married a 12 year old girl. You cant deny that just like you cant deny the church burned non believers way back when.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/


Return to “General Discussion”