South African author ZP Dala was admitted to a mental health facility after stating that she admires Salman Rushdie’s “literary style” during March’s Time of the Writer festival in Durban. Reports states that Dala was dragged to the mental institution against her will for observation after her views of Salman Rushdie’s “literary style” came under fire from authorities.
During the festival, Dala did not state that she likes anything more about Rushdie, other than the way he writes. During the festival, she claimed that she could not “renounce” her views on Rushdie’s style, claiming it would make her “look like a fool.”
“I have been harangued to withdraw, dissect, explain and renounce my admiration of [Rushdie’s] works. I can’t turn back now and pretend I never admired his writing. I would look like a fool.”
According to Books Live, many authors and literary organizations came to the defense of ZP Dala, claiming that her opinion did not require time spent in a mental institution. Both Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman took their dismay of her institutionalization to Twitter, and PEN America released a statement on their website.
“‘[E]xpressed outrage at the harassment and confinement in a mental institution of South African psychologist and novelist Zainub Priya Dala’ and called for her ‘immediate and unconditional release.'”
Despite calls for her release, according to Scroll, ZP Dala also took to Twitter to explain the circumstances regarding her admittance. Dala, a psychologist and an author, felt it necessary to calm the masses and share the very private reason for her admittance. Rather than allow rumors to flow, she shared that she was admitted due to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, not because of her views on Rushdie’s literary style.
“I am admitted to St.Joseph’s Psychiatric Wing it was diagnosed that I have PTSD. No, I was not dragged kicking and screaming here”
Despite her clarification, there are some that wonder if she is being coerced to cover up the truth. After admitting to admiring Rushdie’s work, Dala was approached by an assailant and hit in the face with a brick while being called a “Rushdie B****.” It is also noted that Dala was placed in the mental institution after refusing to make a religious vow that is against her personal beliefs.
Dala has a young child and it is believed the may have voluntarily admitted herself into the mental institution in order to avoid continued harassment. While in the mental institution, Dala’s tweets shared that she was placed on “very strong meds.”
[Photo Courtesy: Books Live]