Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fearing Terrorists, Random House Cancels Publication of The Jewel of Medina

Random House is cancelling the publication of a historical novel by Sherry Jones about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Random House bought Jones’s novel last year in a $100,000, two-book deal. The first book—The Jewel of Medina (“a tale of lust, love and intrigue in the prophet’s harem”)—was scheduled for publication on August 12th.

As mentioned in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Perry (deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group) said it “disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now.” After sending out advance copies of the novel, Perry said Random House received “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Random House decided “to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.”

The WSJ opinion piece contains a racy and controversial excerpt from the book describing Muhammad’s consummation of his marriage with Aisha. I thought about including the excerpt here, but, lacking a personal security guard, thought better of it.


Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Now that there's all this controversy, I really want to read this book!

Gwen Dawson said...

Jen, you can probably get it if you try hard enough. There are ARCs out there. Maybe on eBay? Also, I believe the book will be published in other countries.

Let me know if you find it. That'd be pretty cool.