This week sees the latest instalment in my famous author series. Prior to researching this subject matter I was only aware of 2 writers who had gone into hiding, but I soon discovered there were/are many more.
Here are 6 writers who went into hiding:
Irish born avant-garde novelist, playwright and poet Samuel Beckett is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century. His accolades include having won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. Beckett spent most of his adult life in Paris. When Germany occupied Paris in 1940, Beckett joined the French Resistance. In 1942 Beckett’s unit was betrayed. He fled to the village of Roussillon, where he continued assisting the resistance effort, as well as working on his novel Watt.
Salman Rushdie’s second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981. His fourth book, The Satanic Verses (1988), caused controversy from the outset. The title of the book was deemed offensive by many Muslims, as it refers to a number of allegedly pagan verses, temporarily included in the Qur’an and later removed. When the Supreme Leader of Iran, The Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a Fatwa against the author in January 1989, Rushdie was rushed into the protective custody of Special Branch.
Anne Frank was a member of a Jewish family, who spent 2 years hiding in concealed rooms behind a bookcase in a building in Amsterdam. During this period Anne kept a diary chronicling her life. When her family was betrayed Anne Frank and her sister Margot were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died, most likely as a result of typhus. However, her wartime diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, survived. It was first published in the UK and US in 1952.
Hamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian historian, political scientist and author, who in his youth was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He later became an atheist. His autobiography, Mein Abschied vom Himmel (My Farewell from Heaven), provoked anger in his home country of Egypt. When a fatwa was issued against the author he was placed under police protection. As a result of continued death threats, Abdel-Samad has spent time in hiding. Not surprisingly he does not list a location on his Twitter profile @hamed_samad.
Juan Tomás Avila Laurel is an Equatorial-Guinean novelist, short story writer and poet. Laurel’s writing has been highly critical of his country’s political and economic landscape. This has not endeared him to all in Equatorial Guinea, one of the World’s most repressive regimes. His disgust with his country’s government led him to move to Spain, but after his asylum application was refused he returned home. Concern over potential persecution from Equatorial Guinea’s security forces have forced Avila Laurel to go into hiding.
Bangladeshi author and poet Taslima Nasreen became a controversial figure in her home country due to her feminist views and criticism of religion. In 1993 a fatwa was issued against her. The following year she fled to West Bengal. 8 years later concerns for her safety culminated in Nasreen going into hiding in New Delhi. In 2015 death threats from Islamic extremists resulted in the author moving to the US. She has not been able to return to Bangladesh, or her adopted home of West Bengal.