Sep 5 2008
There’s some strange goings-on at Random House. First, it canceled the publication of the Jewel of Medina on the grounds that it would stir up some terrorist action.
After sending out advance editions of the novel THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, we received in response, from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.
Second, it decided to insert a behavioral clause in its YA author contracts.
“If you act or behave in a way which damages your reputation as a person suitable to work with or be associated with children, and consequently the market for or value of the work is seriously diminished, and we may (at our option) take any of the following actions: Delay publication / Renegotiate advance / Terminate the agreement.”
Now it has changed the word “twat” to “twit” in Jacqueline Wilson’s My Sister Jodie. The book is aimed at children ages 10 and over and has already sold 150,000 copies. The changes will appear in any reprints. It’s unclear whether the publisher forced the change or whether the author wanted it. As a mother myself, I would probably want to know that there was certain language in a book for my ten year old and I suppose this is just another example that it behooves me to read every book that my child reads. (Which I further suppose means that when she comes of age, I’ll have to start reviewing middle age school books?). Having said that, I don’t know that publishers should start censoring words in a book based on a few complaints. I admit to being torn on this issue.