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WELLINGTON, Sept 8, 2015:

New Zealand censors have placed an interim ban on an award-winning book for teenagers — the first such restriction in more than 20 years.

It is now illegal to sell or distribute Into the River by Ted Dawe, including at schools and libraries, the Stuff.co.nz website reports.

The decision by New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review, according to a BBC News report, follows a complaint from conservative lobbying group Family First, which objects to the novel’s sexual content and descriptions of teenage drug-taking.

The book, about a Maori boy who faces bullying and racism, won top prize at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. But it’s now become the first book to be banned since the current law was passed in 1993, the 3 News channel reports. The restrictions will remain in force until the Board of Review makes a decision on a permanent classification.

“It’s quite heavy-handed and draconian,” Dawe said.

“I don’t know whether I’m that happy living in a country which does those sorts of things to books and to writers.”

BBC News reported the author said his book reflected the reality of teenage life, and that to ban it while others, including Fifty Shades of Grey, were given the all-clear was “almost sinister”.

Read the full story at:http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-34173842

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