Nu Nu Yi and Censorship

As Myanmar’s censors loosen their grip, one of the country’s most acclaimed authors plans to republish her novel about two gay lovers, restoring sex-laced passages once deemed too risque for readers

Chunks of paragraphs from Nu Nu Yi’s 1994 novel “Smile as they bow” were purged by the all-powerful censorship office — seen as an Orwellian-style arbiter of all that is fit for publication.

For decades they vetted every article, book manuscript, photograph and illustration before publication, eliminating anything considered inflammatory or damaging to the nation’s military dictators.

But the quasi-civilian government that took office last year has effectively abolished direct censorship, a totemic indicator of the reforms sweeping Myanmar as it emerges from the shadows of outright military rule.

No one is cheering that more than Nu Nu Yi, who in 2007 became the first living Burmese to be nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

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