Writing is about expression. A writer must be free to be herself. Without constraint. Placing rules on a writer simply hinders the creative process. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘at the length truth will out’.
But through the years many regimes have censored books whose contents they deemed to be outrageous, sacrilegious, deviant. I was fascinated to read an article in The Huffington Post on banned books this week. Of course, we’ve all heard of Lolita causing shock waves, but some of the books on the list of those which have been banned at some point were a total surprise to me:
- Alice in Wonderland, banned in China
- Animal Farm, banned in the USA
- Brave New World, banned in Ireland
- The Canterbury Tales, banned in the USA
- The Da Vinci Code, banned in the Lebanon
Particularly in the case of more recent writers like Dan Brown, censorship is an excellent PR vehicle that gets people noticing the book. Still, I’m sure all censored authors are angered by their books being blocked to the public.
Of course, much can be said about the romance genre and how far the author goes when describing intimate scenes. In today’s day and age a reader is pretty unshockable on that front – even before the watershed on television one now finds sexual content, and the slogan ‘sex sells’ is evident across the marketing industry. I’m a romance writer, so I write intimate scenes with a romantic slant – and I think that is essential.
I write as I feel is best, and while of course I take on board my editor’s comments and suggestions, I think it would be uncomfortable indeed as a writer to pull back from writing in the way that comes most naturally. A writer must be free to be herself, and to tell the world her story in her own way. And if the reader doesn’t want to read it or the critic wants to comment on it, well that is fine – but the freedom to write must exist.