AFP: Iran’s conservative cultural body has banned a female writer’s award-winning bestseller, which deals with a married woman’s secret and unrequited love for another man, a press report said Monday. TEHRAN, Nov 27, 2006 (AFP) – Iran’s conservative cultural body has banned a female writer’s award-winning bestseller, which deals with a married woman’s secret and unrequited love for another man, a press report said Monday.
“The ministry of culture and Islamic guidance has prohibited publication of ‘I will turn out the lights’ by Zoya Pirzad,” the Kargozaran paper quoted publisher Alireza Ramezani as saying.
“We have not been informed of the reasons for the ban,” he said, adding the vetting officials had refused to renew the publication permit for the book, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in 23 editions since 2001.
Pirzad’s novel, which has bagged four prestigious literary awards in Iran, tells the story of a bored Armenian housewife who falls in love with a melancholic widower in early 1960s in the oil-city of Abadan.
Production of music, films and books is subject to supervision by the ministry of culture, which has introduced a new initiative requiring publishers to renew permits for new editions of the same book.
The ministry has held up the publication of hundreds of new titles and reprints over the past months, publishers say.
Among the books banned are Persian translations of Tracy Chevalier’s bestseller “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, which had reached a sixth edition, and Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”.
Widely-acclaimed Iranian classic, the “Blind Owl”, written in 1930s by Sadegh Hedayat has also been banned.
Iranian press and publication enjoyed some freedom under the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005, with scores of women joining the Iranian literati and sweeping awards.
In a report released in September, the reformist government’s cultural body came under fire by conservative MPs for permitting works the deputies said promoted decadence, unmarried sex, and secularism.
Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi has vowed to promote religious and revolutionary art, since he was appointed to the ministry in August 2005 by hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“The new government intends to take positive steps for reviving neglected values and considering religious teachings in the cultural field,” he said in a speech in June.