Literary judges quit; ban on Archie comic

Literary judges quit; ban on Archie comic
Archie: The Married Life Book Three (inset) has been banned. Reportedly, Archie Andrews, the redheaded American teenager in the "Archie" comic book series, will die taking a bullet protecting his gay friend in the issue that comes out on July 16.

Three judges for this year's Singapore Literature Prize (non-fiction category) have resigned, following the National Library Board's (NLB) decision to remove three children's books in its collection because they contain homosexual themes.

In a statement yesterday, the three - T. Sasitharan, Romen Bose and Robin Hemley - said they could not, in good conscience, continue as judges, given the close links between the National Book Development Council, which awards the prizes, and the NLB.

The statement said: "We condemn in the strongest terms NLB's decision to remove and destroy these books, given that it is responsible for the dissemination of information rather than its destruction. The fact that the board has not even considered restricting access to the publications but has moved directly to pulping them is very disconcerting."

SEPARATE SECTION

Member of Parliament Hri Kumar said on Facebook yesterday that he, too, disagreed with it. He proposed placing the books in a separate section that "children can only access with an adult present - much like a 'PG' movie".

Meanwhile, a comic book depicting same-sex marriage has been banned from sale here, and the NLB is reviewing its four copies.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it assessed the comic, Archie: The Married Life Book Three, in March after receiving a complaint and found it breached the guidelines with "its depiction of the same-sex marriage of two characters".

NLB said it had bought the comic book before MDA found it in breach and will be reviewing it.

A spokesman said the comic was acquired for its adult collection, which they take a broader approach on than for its children's collection.


This article was first published on July 17, 2014.
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