Banned New Zealand book to hit US shelves

Wellington, Oct 1 (IANS) The first book to be banned in New Zealand in more than 20 years — an award-winning teen novel that includes sex and bullying — will soon hit the shelves in the US, the media reported on Thursday.

“Into The River” by Auckland author Ted Dawe tells the story of a Maori boy who wins a scholarship to an exclusive Auckland boarding school but struggles with racism and drugs.

American publishing house, Polis Books plan to publish Into the River, by Ted Dawe, in hardcover and as an e-book after founder Jason Pinter heard about the New Zealand ban.

“Any time a book is banned, all it serves to do is get the book more readers,” he told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report.

“This is how I heard about the book, to begin with — I was actually on holiday with my family, and it made me want to read the book.”

There are no plans to restrict the age of American readers, although Pinter said Polis would recommend that readers be over 13.

“There are obviously some themes in the book that are for a slightly more mature audience,” he said, but said that this was unlikely to impinge upon its success.

“Into the River” won Book of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, but was not picked up for publication outside of New Zealand before its ban.

After a challenge from Christian lobby group Family First, the Film and Literature Board of Review placed an interim restriction order on the book last month, meaning no one in New Zealand could distribute or exhibit the novel. It was pulled off library and bookshop shelves.

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