Joanne Harris says she rejected book deal over demand to edit out ‘f-bomb’

‘I don’t feel at all offended by this. I made a choice, and so did they,’ wrote the author

<p>Joanne Harris holding her MBE for services to Literature</p>

Joanne Harris holding her MBE for services to Literature

Bestselling novelist Joanne Harris has claimed she turned down a book deal after the US publishers demanded that she remove an expletive from the text.

The author, best known for her novel Chocolat, shared the decision in a post to her followers on Twitter.

According to Harris, publishers had demanded that she remove an “f-bomb” from the novel A Narrow Door.

“Today I turned down a book deal in the US because they wanted to edit out my use of ‘the f-bomb’,” she wrote on Saturday morning (19 February).

“I refused for two reasons: one, because I don’t use words accidentally. They matter. And second, because I don’t believe my use of the word ‘f***’ harms anyone.” (In Harris’s tweet, the word is not censored.)

The deal in question concerned a mail-order book club edition of the psychological thriller A Narrow Door, a novel that was first published last year.

“Either way, I gave it some thought, and the decision was mine to take. That’s how publishing works, and I’m happy with my choice,” she continued.

“But if an editor had pointed out an inadvertent error in the text – or something in the tone that might be hurtful – I would have listened, and most likely changed it. Standing up for the words I meant to use doesn’t mean refusing to change those I didn’t.”

“I don’t feel at all offended by this. I made a choice, and so did they. I don’t remotely feel as if I’ve been ‘cancelled’,” Harris added.

Harris’s comments come amid a wider debate over literary censorship in the US.

Last month, a Tennessee school board faced criticism for its unanimous decision to ban the acclaimed Holocaust-themed graphic novel Maus from the language arts curriculum, citing concerns over profanity and female nudity.

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