English PEN have issued a statement supporting Martin Rynja, publisher at Gibson Square, whose offices were firebombed this weekend, allegedly in connection with Rynja's decision to publish Sherry Jones' The Jewel of Medina. Authors Nadeem Aslam, Monica Ali and Hanif Kureishi have all lent their voices to support Rynja's decision.
With a new documentary about Grove Press editor (and regular defendant in obscenity trials) Barney Rosset, Obscene, due to be released, and Rosset himself about to receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, it's a stark and timely reminder that publishers and editors in the liberal West still struggle for free speech, while their counterparts elsewhere in the world -- like Muhammad al-Sharkawi, blogger and founder of the Malamih publishing house in Cairo -- are subject to detention and state-sponsored brutality.
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