Iran General NewsBrazilian author Paulo Coelho says his latest book banned...

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho says his latest book banned in Iran

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AFP: International best-selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho said Thursday that his latest novel “The Zahir” had been banned in Iran, with some 1,000 copies confiscated this week at Tehran’s annual book fair. “The book was forbidden, even though we went through the normal procedures of getting a permit from the government for it to be published,” Coelho said in an e-mail message sent to AFP by his French publishers Flammarion. AFP

PARIS – International best-selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho said Thursday that his latest novel “The Zahir” had been banned in Iran, with some 1,000 copies confiscated this week at Tehran’s annual book fair.

“The book was forbidden, even though we went through the normal procedures of getting a permit from the government for it to be published,” Coelho said in an e-mail message sent to AFP by his French publishers Flammarion.

“Now, my Iranian publisher, Arash Hejazi, is expressing serious concerns about his safety,” said Coelho, best known for “The Alchemist”.

Hejazi told Coelho that Iranian intelligence agents came to the Tehran book fair on Monday, asking him how many copies of “The Zahir” he had in stock. Some 2,000 copies of the book had already been sold, but 1,000 were left.

The agents confiscated the remaining copies of the book and informed Hejazi that Coelho’s work was henceforth banned in Iran, without providing an explanation.
Hejazi has been asked to report to Iranian authorities in the coming days to discuss the matter.

“I asked them if the book was totally prohibited or only during the book fair. They told me that for the time being, I should not ask any more questions,” Hejazi wrote to Coelho in an e-mail provided by Flammarion.

“I am concerned about my family. The presidential election is near, They are doing everything to keep things under control,” the Iranian publisher added, saying the culture ministry had “become extremely afraid of the increased popularity of Paulo Coelho”.

“The Zahir”, due to be released in Britain next month and in the United States in September, tells the story of an author abandoned by his beloved wife who becomes obsessed with understanding why she disappeared without a trace.

Coelho explained that the word ‘zahir’ in Arabic means “visible, present and unable to go unnoticed”. In the novel, it refers to the author’s obsession.

“The Zahir” has been translated into 42 languages and will be sold in 83 countries. Iran was the first to put the book up for sale.

Coelho has sold an estimated 65 million books around the world.

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