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August is a quiet month for book launches and the like, so lucky there’s a good old fashioned book brawl to hot things up! Yes, it’s Greer versus Rushdie. The two have famously never seen eye to eye (Greer went to Cambridge University in the late ’60s with Rushdie, and have had several reported rows over the years) but now they are facing off over the filming of Monica Ali’s novel “Brick Lane”. It seems several dozen members of local Bangladeshi community aren’t so happy about the plot, which they say portrays them as simple and ignorant – and forced the film company to cancel shooting at the location.
Greer wrote in the Guardian last Monday that locals had a right to prevent filming, and that Ali failed to think that some residents might have found her plot outlandish.
“She writes in English and her point of view is – whether she allows herself to impersonate a village Bangladeshi woman or not, British. She has forgotten her Bengali, which she would not have done if she had wanted to remember it. When it comes to writing a novel, however, she becomes the pledge of our multi-ethnicity.”
Rushdie, responded calling Greer’s article “pro-censorship twaddle”.
“Her support of the attack on this film project is philistine, sanctimonious and disgraceful,” he wrote.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Guardian again, reports that:
Novelists Salman Rushdie, Hari Kunzru and Lisa Appignanesi have attacked community groups, the police and the media after Ruby Films decided to move shooting of an adaptation of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane out of London’s Tower Hamlets area last week.
Shootings? Community groups attacked? We think the real question here is “is it still safe to walk down Brick Lane without meeting a salivating Lisa Appignanesi and being savagely bludgeoned to the ground with a bloody copy of Free Expression is No Offence?” We’re off for a curry tonight so we can report back next week. (p.s. why do we have the distinct feeling that through all this, Monica Ali is giggling to herself, probably on some sunny Greek Island, before sighing and starting the next chapter of John Updike’s Terrorist?)
On a lighter note, research shows that “Agatha Christie’s novels are often the first adult book that young readers attempt when making the move away from children’s literature.” (via Book World)
Two writers from Tell Tales Volume III – Aoife Mannix and Abby Ajayi – read alongside Karen McCarthy and Liam Gallimore-Wells from Tell Tales I; and Sharmilla Chauhan and Mark Rowe from Tell Tales II. Confused? Find out more, and buy tickets here. 7.30pm, £8/ £5 Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St.
Saturday & Sunday
Tulips, Tiles and Coffee Culture at the V&A includes a specially constructed Turkish coffee house where you can enjoy events such as traditional and contemporary storytelling, music, art workshops, special talks and tours and an opportunity to dress up in traditional costumes and have your photograph taken. The event goes on all day and is free, at The John Madejski Garden and throughout the V&A, V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. Call 020 7942 2211 for information.