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Burma author restores gay love novel after censors lift ban

Burma author restores gay love novel after censors lift ban

An acclaimed author in Burma is planning to re-release one of her novels to include gay love plot previously purged by the country’s oppressive regime.

Nu Nu Yi’s novel ‘Smile as They Bow’ was heavily censored by the military junta when it was first published in 1994.

But following government reform in 2011, pre-publication censorship for novels has been abolished, allowing the celebrated writer to self-publish her book in its full original form in 2013.

The novel tells the story of a transgender spirit medium and his love affair with a 20-year-old apprentice.

Passages which were deemed too sexually provocative by censors included a gay character referring to his partner as ‘husband’. It was subsequently changed to ‘son’.

In an interview with news agency AFP, Nu Nu Yi spoke of her torment at having to alter her writing to meet the government’s approval.

She said: ‘I felt helpless. Writers have a social contract with readers. We’re meant to shed light on reality…not offer a "sanitised" version of reality.’

However, she warned that the nation, also known as Myanmar, is still very much in the process of reforming.

‘The changes are not set in stone,’ she added.

‘So before the censors change their mind…let’s change the "adopted son" back to "husband".’