Book banning and Ted Dawe’s Into the River

Emma Neale

A ‘friend in the media’ asked me to give his local paper a response to the furore that’s erupted over Ted Dawe’s novel Into the River, which I worked on in its initial assessment and editing phase. The newspaper that asked for comment has decided not to step into the controversy after all: and given I spent quite a bit of time pondering it this week and during the initial reading of the draft novel, I thought I would post something here.

I strongly believe that literature is one of the places that young people can safely think through situations, and rehearse their moral choices, without the grave personal compromise that living through the real events might involve. Forewarned is forearmed.The novel is aimed at ages 15+: the sex scenes are unromanticised, and speak the truth of unsatisfactory experiences. Yes, they’re awkward, raw, discomfiting. That’s part of the point…

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