Banned Books in Australia A Special Collections-Art in the Library Exhibition

Christina Stead, Letty Fox: Her Luck (banned 1947–1958)

Christina Stead’s Letty Fox: Her Luck was her only novel banned in Australia and was not banned anywhere else. The novel used the amorous adventures of a ‘typical’ New York girl to satirise American middle-class life. The book received mixed reviews in New York, where it was published in 1946, with one critic describing it as ‘saturated with sex’.

Long before the novel arrived in Australia the Sydney press had publicised this hostile review and forewarned Customs, which intercepted a copy early in 1947 and forwarded it to the Censorship Board.

After criticising the novel’s ‘over-emphasis’ on sex, the Board concluded ‘The authoress has a powerful intellect. It is all the more regrettable that she should have used it injudiciously. The book should be banned.’

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