How to Get Your Book Banned – Q and A with guest @moha_doha

By Rachel Thompson
Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Today I am honored to have Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar (aka MohaDoha) on the blog to talk about how her latest book was banned. Here is her story: 

1. So your book is banned…what does that mean?

Every book that’s sold in most Middle Eastern countries needs to pass the censor’s approval. Usually this means that it has no sex, atheism, or politics. If it does, then the censor can decline the book, meaning no bookshop in the country can sell it. This applies also to films which are edited for content. Wolf of Wall Street was 40 minutes shorter here and in the United Arab Emirates.

2. You wrote erotica in the Arabian Gulf?
No! I knew I wanted the book to be sold in Qatar, and avoided the big 3 offenders. There’s no sex – one kiss, so like a Disney movie. One person converts (to Islam). And there’s nothing about the government. I have two young children after all.

LovecomeslaterAinKhaled

3. Sounds kinda boring, in terms of what could offend. 
This is a region that is under going major social change and development; Love Comes Later highlights the many choices facing young people who value tradition and modern societies. The way my characters answer their dilemmas may be sensitive for some readers.

4. Hm. Have you written anything else?
This is my 6th book set in Qatar – I’ve edited five others but they were all non-fiction. Essays are safer than fiction.

5. What happens now?
We’ll go back to the censor and ask for more information and whether or not a Doha edition could be managed, depending on the type of changes they’d like to see.

 

About the Author:

2013authorphotoMohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, then another, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. Her work has been published in AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, and Qatar Explorer. She has been a guest on Expat Radio, and was the host for two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine.

She has also published six  e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Her second novel is set in Qatar which explores if this generation of people believe thatLove Comes Later. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plot lines.

Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem(Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She was a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition.

Currently Mohana is working on a coming of age story about a South Indian girl growing up in the U.S. She writes because words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog or follow her on Twitter at @moha_doha.

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