Not all is as it first seemed.
According to Isobel Abulhoul the decision to cancel the launch of the book was communicated to Ms Badell in September ... so why was it only brought to public attention this month?
Margaret Atwood now apparently regrets her decision to withdraw and has :
... come around to Isobel Aboulhou’s view that this was as much a controversy stirred up by Bedell’s publishers as anything to do with censorship. ... On speaking to , the festival’s director, however, she was told that this was not the case, she writes. Rather, the festival director had sent a “candid” and somewhat naive email of rejection, which “was carefully guarded by someone - who? - until now, when it was hurled into the press with great publicity effect, easily stampeding people like me.” Atwood, upset that her principled stance was taken under what she now sees as false pretences, and protective of the “first-time festivalite” Abulhoul, says her “head is spinning” as a result of the controversy.I think our heads are spinning too. And I must make a note to be a bit more of a sceptic ...
Postscript (24/2/09) :
Margaret Atwood is to take part in the debate on censorhsip via video link.