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ZP Dala Clarifies Her Admittance to Mental Health Facility

ZP Dala has clarified the situation surrounding her admittance to a mental healthcare facility in Durban.

Dala was attacked for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie’s “literary style” at the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban in March.

Yesterday, PEN America released a statement that “expressed 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”. Rushdie and Neil Gaiman condemned her alleged “confinement” on Twitter. However, the statement did not quote Dala directly.

The author has since spoken briefly to the Sunday Times and has also taken to Twitter in an attempt to elucidate her position.

Dala, who is a psychologist by profession and also a qualified physiotherapist, confirmed that she is admitted at St Joseph’s psychiatric wing, where doctors have diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

“No, I was not dragged kicking and screaming here,” she tweeted.

“On paper I signed that I came in voluntarily, but the reality is, I was told to come,” she is quoted in the Sunday Times as saying.

On Twitter, Dala says that since she was admitted her doctor has gone on leave, and she understands the locum cannot authorise to discharge her: “She placed me on further meds [...] Hence I am here at St. Josephs and cannot be sent home until the doctor comes back.”

The Sunday Times also refers to a PEN statement in which Dala says staff at St Joseph’s were told not to divulge any information about her admission or diagnosis. She alleges that an occupational therapist at the hospital “barged” into her cubicle while she was asleep, “relentlessly asking me questions about the assault and loudly laughing off my requests to leave me alone”.

Of the statements she made during the Time of the Writer Festival, Dala says: “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.”

ZP Dala Releases Statement Through PEN South Africa

Read Dala’s tweets:

What About MeeraBecause of the injuries and trauma she suffered, Dala was forced to postpone the launch of her debut novel, What About Meera, which had been scheduled for the Time of the Writer Festival.
Related news

South African Author ZP Dala Reportedly Taken to Mental Institution After Refusing to Renounce Salman Rushdie Comments

Author ZP Dala Assaulted at Time of the Writer for her Admiration of Salman Rushdie

Read Letters of Support to ZP Dala from Time of the Writer Authors

“We Are Writing in Difficult Times” – Reactions to the Attack on ZP Dala

Open Letter from PEN South Africa: Violent Intimidation of Writers Must Not be Tolerated

Authors: If you would like to add your name to the list on the PEN South Africa open letter, please let Books LIVE know by email, on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.


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