“I’m angry at the treatment I’ve received,” stated Dr. Malik “because my creative effort is being treated as if it’s somehow unclean and unworthy. Clearly, the Muslim Writers Awards has decided that the novel is so unpalatable for them that it needs to be buried.”
Dr. Malik’s unpublished book, The Butterfly Hunter, reportedly contains rape, pedophilia and a cell of suicide bombers. He discovered that the judges hadn’t seen it after asking them for feedback.
The awards coordinators agree that the novel was shortlisted and that the judges didn’t see it. However:
Irfan Akram said that he had personally tried to introduce Malik to publishers and agents on the basis that he felt his writing showed promise. “We are unequivocally, absolutely, not interested in restricting creative talent,” added Akram. “The only thing I will say is that putting someone in front of television cameras and putting them in a magazine would not be the right way to censor them.”
Awards project director Imran Akram said that Malik’s submission was “certainly one of the best” received in 2008, and was shortlisted for the novel award along with four other unpublished novelists. But he admitted that Malik’s work was not submitted to judges as it should have been, and said that the situation was currently being investigated: “The responsibility for ensuring work was submitted to judges was delegated to several individuals within the organisation. We are still in the process of investigating the matter, and will be responding to Dr Malik’s concerns once we have ascertained why his novel was not forwarded to the panel of judges.” A spokesperson for Malik said he had not as yet submitted his work to any publishers.
So we still don’t know. It could have been one individual who didn’t like the book keeping it from being seen. Or they may find a stack of books in a box under someone’s untidy desk. We’ll see.