New Zealand bans novel with sex, bullying

Wellington, Sep 7 (IANS) New Zealand has banned an award-winning teen novel that includes sex and bullying, making it the first book to be removed from shelves in over two decades, the media reported on Monday.

The Film and Literature Board of Review has placed an interim restriction order on “Into The River” by Auckland author Ted Dawe, meaning it cannot be sold, lent or displayed by anyone, Radio New Zealand reported.

The board has objected to the sex scenes, offensive language and references to drug-taking.

It won the Book of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. “It’s extraordinary,” Dawe told the New Zealand Herald.

“I’ve had quite a few emails from people who share that sense of outrage. Do we live in a country where books get banned? I’ll get burnt next.”

The book tells the story of a Maori boy who wins a scholarship to an exclusive Auckland boarding school but struggles with racism and drugs.

The book was trying to reach out to teenagers and young people who would not normally read, he added.

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