Patrick Mullins shortlisted for NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

The Trials of Portnoy: how Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system by Patrick Mullins has been shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction in the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary awards.

The judges said: ‘Patrick Mullins’ book is a shrewd and entertaining account of the slow but inexorable movement to end literary censorship in Australia, organised around the efforts of Penguin Books Australia to publish Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, and the parallel efforts of the censorship authorities to ban it. This engaging and well-researched book enlivens its subject matter and turns publishers and booksellers into heroes. Mullins writes with flair as he synthesises a vast number of old and new sources. He avoids spelling out crude parallels to contemporary debates about freedom of speech and lets his material speak for itself, a decision that enriches the experience of the reader.’

Congratulations to Patrick and all the shortlisted authors.

The Trials of Portnoy

Fifty years after the event, here is the first full account of an audacious publishing decision that — with the help of booksellers and readers around the country — forced the end of literary censorship in Australia.

For more than seventy years, a succession of politicians, judges, and government officials in Australia worked in the shadows to enforce one of the most pervasive and conservative regimes of censorship in the world. The goal was simple: to keep Australia free of the moral contamination of impure literature. Under the censorship regime, books that might damage the morals of the Australian…

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Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic who has a PhD…

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The Trials of Portnoy

Patrick Mullins

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