The Trials of Portnoy

The Trials of Portnoy

How Penguin Brought Down Australia’s Censorship System

by Patrick Mullins

Published by: Scribe Publications Pty Ltd

336 Pages, 6.00 x 9.20 in, 1 x 8pp B&W photo section

  • Paperback
  • 9781925849448
  • Published: October 2020


For fans of Banned Book Week and champions of freedom of speech, a riveting read about the way a publisher changed censorship laws in Australia with Portnoy’s Complaint.

Until fifty years ago, books that might damage the morals of the Australian public were banned, seized, and burned. Bookstores were raided. Publishers were fined. Writers were charged, even jailed.

In 1970, in great secrecy and at considerable risk, Penguin Books Australia resolved to publish Portnoy’s Complaint—Philip Roth’s frank, funny, and profane bestseller.

The Trials of Portnoy draws on archival records and interviews to show how Penguin and a band of writers, booksellers, academics, and lawyers sought for the freedom to read what they wished, even through criminal charges, police raids, and trials.