The Religion and Society and the Writing & Society Research Centres, at the University of Western Sydney
are pleased to Present:
On the Trail of Taslima
Thursday 6 June, 11am – 12:30pm.
UWS, Building 3, room 55, Bankstown campus, Bullecourt Ave,
Milperra. (via the Henry Lawson Drive exit of the M5).
As she followed the trail of Taslima Nasreen, author Hanifa Deen soon began questioning the reasoning behind the international ‘crusade’ to save the dissident Bangladeshi writer who shot to international fame in 1994 after religious fanatics in Bangladesh accused her of blasphemy. The controversial writer went underground and, as the official story has it, fled to the West where she became a human rights celebrity, a female version of Salman Rushdie. Nasreen’s name almost became a household word in 1994, when she was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament, and presidents, chancellors, mayors, and famous writers and intellectuals around Europe flocked to her side. Although she eventually slipped from her literary pedestal, she is still remembered and respected as a feminist icon who fought the bearded fundamentalists in her own country and whose life was in danger. This is the official story that most people are familiar with, and the one that is widely believed by Taslima supporters around the world.
Following years of research which took her to 15 cities around the world, Deen discovered the story of what really happened to Taslima was a fascinating labyrinth where memory and myth had merged, the tale having acquired a life of its own with a hundred different authors. Nothing was what it seemed.
In her talk Hanifa Deen will discuss mythmaking, freedom of speech and international literary politics and how she came to write her behind-the scenes-account of what really took place when the international freedom of speech giants or ‘Dragon Slayers’ as she calls them (Amnesty, PEN et al) stepped in to ‘save Taslima’ in a world-wide human rights campaign.
Hanifa Deen sometimes describes herself as ‘an accidental author’ whose irreverent tongue was always better suited to writing than a career in the public service!
Her latest book On the Trail of Taslima will be available for sale.