KOLKATA: Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has no intentions to go to France to receive the Prix Simone de Beauvoir, 2008, awarded to her. She has, instead, asked her publisher there to arrange for sending the award “certificate” to her “residence in Kolkata.”
Speaking to The Hindu over telephone on Friday from an undisclosed location where she has been put up since November 23, 2007, Ms. Nasreen said, “I will not go to France to receive the award though I would have been happy to receive it from the French government here in India.”
Her remarks came a day after a statement issued by the French embassy in New Delhi stating that President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted Ms. Nasreen to “be invited to France so that the ‘Prix Simone de Beauvoir,’ may be given to her officially.”
The prize is instituted in memory of French author Simone de Beauvoir. The announcement that it had been awarded to Ms. Nasreen at a conference in Couvent des Cordeliers, Paris, on January 9.
“My publisher in France, Christiane Besse, accepted on my behalf the certificate announcing the award in Paris that day,” Ms. Nasreen said. “A speech I had sent was read out by my publisher on the occasion and it was greeted with applause.”
She made clear her intention not to go to France to collect the award though the French government has expressed its gratitude “to the Indian authorities for all measures that they may kindly take to facilitate Ms. Nasreen’s journey to France.”
“I see no need to go all the way to Paris to collect the award. My place of work is in India and in Kolkata, which is my home and where I have been working these past years,” she said.
There have been reports that the Indian government will be extending her visa that is to expire on February 17 though Ms. Nasreen said she had not received any official word as yet. “But I believe that the Indian government will provide the necessary protection so that I can return to Kolkata where I feel safe enough.”