'This is the first book to examine the powerful effect on freedom of speech and expression of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989. It is one of those rare books that tells you what, the sound and fury apart, is really going on. Malik probes the culture of self-censorship and political posturing that erodes free speech and skilfully questions the positions of the left and liberals. In his words: "If we invite the state to define the boundaries of acceptable speech, we cannot complain if it is not just speech to which we object that gets curtailed."'
The Orwell Prize is Britain's most prestigious prize for political writing. The Book Prize judges for 2010 were Jonathan Heawood (director, English PEN), Andrew Holgate (literary editor, Sunday Times) and Francine Stock (writer and broadcaster).