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BPC Bulletin March 15, 2023

BPC Bulletin: Rewriting the Books of Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

In recent weeks, journalists have reported publishers’ decisions to rewrite the works of James Bond author Ian Fleming and children’s author Roald Dahl.

And some ecologists and biologists have suggested replacing certain scientific terms to make them less “harmful” to society.


Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. commissioned a review by sensitivity readers of the James Bond series. In April, the publisher will release new editions of older Bond novels that lack racist descriptions of black people.

In Time, Armani Syed reports:

Why James Bond Books Are Being Rewritten | Time

In The Independent, Emily Atkinson reports:

Ian Fleming’s James Bond books rewritten to remove ‘offensive’ references | The Independent

Roald Dahl

After suffering an international backlash for hiring sensitivity readers to rewrite the books of Roald Dahl, Puffin declared that the company would publish both the revised and original editions.

Katie Archer of Yahoo Entertainment UK reports:

Roald Dahl once said he would set an ‘enormous crocodile’ on publishers if they changed his work (

Jill Lawless of the Associated Press reports:

Roald Dahl’s original books will kept in print, following editing backlash - National |

In The Bay Observer, John Best reports:

Publisher backtracks on plans to censor Roald Dahl’s children’s literature – Hamilton, Burlington and GTA

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Language Project

Some ecologists and biologists have suggested replacing certain scientific terms—such as survival of the fittest and male and female—to make them less “harmful” to society.

In The Telegraph, Sarah Knapton reports:

Females? No, they are called 'egg-producers,' scientists suggest | National Post


In Salon, Alison Stine comments:

"I have no particular power": Don't blame sensitivity readers for the latest censored books |

Mark Gollom of CBC News comments:

Why the use of sensitivity readers is causing such a stir in the publishing world | CBC News

In USA Today, Ingrid Jacques comments:

Roald Dahl, James Bond are censorship's latest victims. Who's next? (

In the National Post, Jesse Kline comments:
Woke censors come for Roald Dahl and Charles Darwin | National Post

In The Independent, Louis Chilton comments:

From Roald Dahl to James Bond: Censoring controversial books has nothing to do with sensitivity | The Independent

David J. Wasserstein comments at ABC News in Australia:

The curious case of Roald Dahl: Why censorship is such a dangerous business - ABC Religion & Ethics

Joyce Carol Oates comments on Twitter:
Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter: "prose so radically revised by "sensitivity readers" should be noted as collaborations. it is unfair to readers to be deceived into thinking that they are reading the original work. if Dahl is so egregious as to require such wholesale whitewashing (sic) why republish him at all?" / Twitter

Thanks go to Charles Montpetit who forwarded some articles.

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.

BPC Bulletin
March 15, 2023
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