Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Smoking Martyr' Lynn Barber pulls out of festival
Author withdraws from event after council refuses to print brochure showing her smoking
Alison Flood writing in guardian.co.uk, Monday 24 August 2009

Author and journalist Lynn Barber has withdrawn from a literary festival after the local council refused to include a photograph of her smoking in its brochure for the event. Her ferocious interview technique earned her the soubriquet Demon Barber, but this is the first time she has been branded a potentially corrupting influence.
Barber, who writes for the Observer, was due to appear at Richmond's Book Now festival in November to discuss her memoir, An Education, which tells of the destructive affair she began as a teenager with an older man who picked her up at a bus stop.

Her publisher Penguin had supplied a black and white photograph of Barber for inclusion in the festival's brochure, embroidered scarf around her neck, head thrown back, cigarette in mouth.
But Richmond council deemed that using a picture of an author smoking went against its responsibility to encourage "good health habits", and asked Barber to provide another. She declined and pulled out of the festival, saying that she had "always wanted to be a Smoking Martyr and obviously this is my opportunity".
"If a pic of me smoking is such a threat to the good burghers of Richmond, imagine what my presence would do," she said this morning. Barber, winner of five British Press awards, is also the author of a study of Victorian naturalists, The Heyday of Natural History, along with How to Improve Your Man in Bed and The Single Woman's Sex Book.
Alison Flood's full story here.

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