Weekly Writing Prompt #40

This week, in 1960, bookstores across Britain were inundated when the controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover went on sale for the first time. Penguin Books, had just emerged victorious from a sensational six-day trial where the company was accused of violating the Obscene Publications Act by publishing DH Lawrence’s story.

Britain was about to be overwhelmed by the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and this became one of the first signs of a new age of freedom and emancipation. The sexually explicit novel about an affair between an aristocrat’s wife and his gamekeeper was published in Italy in 1928 and in France the following year, but it had always been banned in the UK.

After the go-ahead from the court, Penguin couldn’t cope with demand and rationed its first 200,000 copies to booksellers across the country. All were sold on the first day. 300 copies sold from Foyles, the biggest bookshop in London, in the first 15 minutes and took orders for another 3,000. Within a year of the trial, Lady Chatterley’s Lover had sold two million copies.

In 1930, at the age of 44, Lawrence died of tuberculosis, defending his book to the last against those who accused him of pornography. He could hardly have imagined the sensation and vindication of the trial 30 years later. I wonder how he would feel about the books of today such as Fifty Shades of Grey.

This week’s prompt comes from the still controversial novel. Have you read it?

Brandi Redd

Weekly Writing Prompt #35

It’s Banned Books Week! This is an annual celebration of the Freedom to Read. Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week raises awareness of the fact that people are still trying to ban books and highlights the value of free and open access to information. Libraries and others in the book community use the week to show support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

During most of the 20th century, Australia was one of the strictest censors in the western world. Most imported publications were closely inspected before being released, and Australia frequently banned what was considered suitable reading in other countries such as Europe and America.

The Commonwealth Customs Department, which had the authority to prohibit imports, kept a reference library of around 15,000 books, magazines and comics banned in Australia between the 1920s and the 1970s.

Some of my favourite books were once considered unsuitable including To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Bridge to Terabithia, even the Harry Potter series.

This week’s prompt comes from one such banned book, The Grapes of Wrath.

Fredrick Kearney Jr