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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Not reading Brick Lane
Authors: Benwell, Bethan
Procter, James
Robinson, Gemma
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Keywords: Not reading
book controversies
Monica Ali
Brick Lane
Rushdie Affair
hierarchies of reading
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Lawrence and Wishart
Citation: Benwell B, Procter J & Robinson G (2011) Not reading Brick Lane, New Formations, 73, pp. 64-90.
Abstract: When someone becomes or does not become a reader - and how we make a claim to or refuse these kinds of identity - clearly matters within globalised cultures, where the challenges of literary representation quickly become problems of cultural misrepresentation. Yet precisely because not reading would appear to amount to nothing, its significance remains unexplored. In order to trace the conjunctural and multiple meanings of not reading, this essay explores the embattled reception surrounding Monica Ali's novel Brick Lane (2003) and its adaptation into film (2007), and locates not reading within a longer history of book controversies that is overshadowed by the Rushdie Affair. Our paper argues that, far from mere negation, not reading is an intensely productive site of cross-cultural negotiation and conflict without which the contemporary significance of global readerships and reading acts makes only partial sense.
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Publisher is open-access. Open access publishing allows free access to and distribution of published articles where the author retains copyright of their work by employing a Creative Commons attribution licence. Proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details should be given. Publisher’s policy available from
Affiliation: English Studies
Newcastle University
English Studies

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