New East Digital Archive

Russian publisher censors queer love scene in hit American fantasy novel

Russian publisher censors queer love scene in hit American fantasy novel
Victoria Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy. Image: Facebook / Victoria "V.E." Schwab

15 August 2017

American fantasy writer Victoria Schwab is outraged after discovering that a Russian publisher has omitted the queer plot in the second book of her hit trilogy Shades of Magic.

The writer publically expressed her dissatisfaction on Twitter, saying “I was absolutely horrified”, and that the publisher was in “total breach of contract”.

Rosmen, the publishing house in question, told Russian daily newspaper Vedemosti, that it had redacted a romantic scene between two characters in order to comply with Russian legislation.

Natalya Brovchuk, the spokesperson for Rosmen, added: “We only did this so that we wouldn’t violate the ban on gay propaganda for minors. But we kept the romantic plotline as a whole.” She also added that the trilogy’s final book, where the queer plotline becomes a central theme, will have to be heavily edited or marked 18+.

A law banning “the promotion of non-traditional relationships to children” was passed in Russia in 2013. If violated, the legislation can see individuals and companies face a hefty fine. The controversial law sparked an impassioned reaction from western human rights groups and cultural figures including Sir Ian McKellen, opposing the law’s discriminatory foundations and calling for it to be repealed.

Schwab has since told Vedemosti that “it would have been better not to have published the book at all”, and that she intends to cut ties with the Russian publishing house.

Source: Moscow Times