From a Crooked Rib; A Naked Needle

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Date: 1973 1976

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Artist: Nuruddin Farah (b. 1945)

Confronting Bodies: Somali government under dictator Siad Barre

Dates of Action: 1973, 1976

Location: Somalia


Description of Artwork: Farah's novel From a Crooked Rib is about a Somali woman who struggles to free herself from her husband and father who had arranged her marriage and control her life. His novel A Naked Needle, set in Mogadiscio during the period 1969 to 1972, depicts the terror in the aftermath of Major General Maxamed Siyaad Barré’s Soviet-backed coup.

The Incident: Farah challenged the patriarchal tradition in Somalia through his novel From a Crooked Rib. The novel was serialized in the government newspaper Xiddigata Oktoobar until, in 1973, the paper discontinued the series. After Farah's second novel, A Naked Needle, which was critical of Siad Barre's government, he went into a self-imposed exile in Britain in 1976 (where he had been studying) after being warned of his impending arrest should he return to Somalia.

Results of Incident: None of Farah's novels were published in Somalia. He has taught at Universities around the world and is an internationally known writer, currently living in South Africa.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones