ZP Dala has released an official statement through PEN South Africa, thanking the organisation for helping to secure her released from St Joseph’s psychiatric hospital in Durban.
Dala was attacked at the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban in March for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie’s “literary style”.
Under circumstances which still remain unclear, Dala was admitted to St Joseph’s, reportedly after being put under “extreme pressure to renounce her statement about Rushdie’s work, repent for her ‘sins’, and to make a public vow of religious loyalty to Islam”, according to a PEN America statement released on Sunday.
PEN America expressed “outrage” at the “harassment and confinement in a mental institution” of Dala, and calling for her “immediate and unconditional release”. Rushdie and Neil Gaiman, along with a number of other authors, voiced their support for Dala on Twitter.
Rushdie tweeted that Dala “contacted PEN eleven times on Saturday asking for help. This is why I take her request seriously.”
On Sunday, Dala clarified her situation somewhat, but confirmed that she had still not been released from the hospital.
This morning, the author released a statement, through PEN SA, which reads:
I would like to thank PEN Centers in South Africa, America and the UK a million times over for mobilising so quickly and working so hard to secure my release from St. Joseph’s psychiatric hospital.
I felt myself slipping into a deeper depression while there. I felt cut off from the world and that my faculties were compromised by excessive medication.
I am now home with my family, laughing kids and overgrown garden.
Please convey my sincerest and most heartfelt thank you to all at PEN and all others who assisted in securing my release.
Because 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.
Authors wishing to add their name in support of Dala on PEN South Africa’s open letter, please let Books LIVE know by email, on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.
ZP Dala Clarifies Her Admittance to Mental Health Facility