FACTannouncement: Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)…now Under Royal Patronage ในพระอุปถัมภ์ฯ
July 9, 2012
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) is delighted to announce that Prudence Margaret Leith, OBE, CBE has honoured us by becoming FACT’s Royal patron.
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)…now Under Royal Patronage, ในพระอุปถัมภ์ฯ in Thai.
Prue Leith is a remarkable woman. We came to know her as the widow of the author of Thailand’s most famous banned book.
The Devil’s Discus by Prue’s husband, Rayne Kruger, was published in the UK in 1964. Not only was the book immediately officially banned in Thailand but it is rumoured that Thai govt bought, and burned, as many remaining copies it could acquire. First editions remain exceedingly scarce and costly.
A Thai translation, กงจักรปีศาจ (Kongjat Bisat), was published in 1977, credited to the Students’ History Club at Thammasat University. It was translated by Chalit Chaisitthiwet, the brother of the officer named as King Ananda’s killer.
It is rumoured but unsubstantiated in Rayne Kruger’s obituary in The Times that the Thai printing house was burned to the ground for this affront. In any case, the Thai translation was not banned until 2007 when it came to the attention of authorities…30 years after its original publication.
Every known copy of the two printings of The Devil’s Discus in Thai are found to have the first 16 pages excised. Of course, this only deepens the mystery. What was on those missing pages which was considered too risky to distribute to the public…even more risky than the banned book itself?
It was this inaccessible work of fine investigative reporting which led to my vendetta against censorship and the founding of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) in 2006. It was King Ananda who drew me to the censorship issue.
In 2007, Prue generously assigned the international rights to The Devil’s Discus to FACT. Since then, new editions have been published in German, Japanese, and English; a Chinese translation is in process. Not one but two new editions of กงจักรปีศาจ reached print in 2011 in Thailand. They are still quite illegal to distribute (though not to possess) and are sold quietly but openly, passed from hand to hand.
It is testament to the enduring scholarship of The Devil’s Discus for publishers and distributors to risk their freedom to get this book into the hands of readers.
Prudence Leith is a remarkable woman whose varied iterations she chronicled just this year in her autobiography, Relish: My Life in Many Courses.
Prue was born in South Africa before emigrating to England with her husband Rayne. The couple was an obvious inspiration to their children: Danny became a journalist and Li-Da a filmmaker.
Prue became a professional caterer (Leith’s Good Food, 1961); a celebrity chef in her own Michelin-starred London restaurant (Leith’s, 1969); and founder of Leith’s School of Food and Wine (1975) to train global chefs. Prue has had cookery columns in four major British daily newspapers for which she received the Corning Award Food Journalist of the Year (1979) and the Glenfiddich Trade Journalist of the Year award (1983). Six of Prue’s own cooking show series have appeared on British television.
Prue has been received eleven honourary degrees and fellowships and serves several charities. She founded the British Food Trust, is a trustee of Slow Food UK and chairs the School Food Trust which she considers her most important work so far. She still serves on the board of the Orient-Express. Prue is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Honourary Fellow of the Council of City and Guilds of London Institute (FCGI). In her spare time, Prue has authored 21 cookbooks from 1979 to 1999 and six novels in the new millennium.
She was Royally-appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989, named Veuve Clicquot’s 1990 Business Woman of the Year and received the Royal appointment Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2010 as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours.
Considering Thailand’s current political imbroglio over govt’s profligate use of the lèse majesté laws, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) is pleased to buck this trend…under Royal patronage.
Deepest thanks and affection for our patron, and friend, Prudence Leith OBE, CBE.
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)
The Devil’s Discus in English is available for download here: http://www.scribd.com/collections/2496420/The-Devil-s-Discus
and จักรปีศาจ here: http://www.scribd.com/collections/2801432/หนังสือหายาก, and here: http://www.scribd.com/collections/2690652/หนังสือหายาก.
The Devil’s Discus in English may be purchased here: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&vci=1330729&an=&tn=devil%27s+discus&kn=&isbn=&x=0&y=0
Works by Prudence Leith