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Author’s war protest has global impact

Penguin Books (N.Z.) Limited


For immediate release
2nd April 2003

Author’s war protest has global impact

Best-selling author and UK resident, Iain Banks has cut up his passport and sent it to Tony Blair in protest at the war in Iraq. Banks was due to tour Australia and New Zealand and was to take part in the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival being held from 15 -18 May. Banks was out here to promote his latest book Dead Air.

On 22 March Banks wrote a letter to The Guardian in which he said:

‘Not even in the darkest days of Thatcherdom did my wife and I feel so thoroughly ashamed to be British. Because of this, and for whatever it may be worth, we have destroyed our passports and sent the remains to the Prime Ministers office.’

In a separate letter to his publishers Banks expressed his disappointment at being unable to travel to New Zealand:

‘I am so sorry to be letting people down, both within the publishing / media world and outside, but I couldn’t think of any other non-violent way to express my shame at being British and this immoral and illegal war being waged, supposedly, in my name’.

He went on to say if there were any other way of coming to New Zealand without using a UK passport he would still be delighted to come. He has been investigating the options of using his wife’s German passport to travel with but it is unlikely he will be eligible.

‘Naturally we are very disappointed about the news but we do understand and respect his decision’ says Penguin Books Marketing Manager, Penny Hartill.

Banks leapt to literary fame in 1984 with the publication of his controversial novel The Wasp Factory which immediately established him as a new and important voice in international fiction. Since then he has gone on to write eleven literary novels and also eight science fiction novels under the name Iain M. Banks.

For more information or an interview opportunity please contact Sally Levin, Penguin Books,Ph (09) 415 4700 or


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