NABOKV-L post 0008706, Mon, 6 Oct 2003 09:21:39 -0700

Fw: followed the example of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov
(Lolita) ...
EDNOTE. Without getting into nuances, let me assure non-Russian readers that Russia has a long and honable tradition of erotic writing from Barkov and Pushkin thru Viktor Erofeev and on.
----- Original Message -----
From: Sandy P. Klein
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 3:35 PM
Subject: followed the example of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita) ...

New Straits Times ╩ World

Russia holds first erotic writing award ceremony

MOSCOW, Oct 4: Italy has Boccaccio▓s Decameron. Britain has Fanny Hill. France has ... well, just about everything. But Russia is just taking its first timid steps into the world of erotic literature, as demonstrated at an award ceremony in Moscow this week.

More than 350 authors aged from 18 to 91 took part in the "Russian Decameron" competition for erotic writing, the first such event since Soviet-imposed corsets began to loosen in the late 1980s, and by all accounts they were not taking too many risks.

Crowned the best erotic writer and winner of a US$15,000 (RM57,000) prize, Igor Sakhnovsky from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg swore that his work was perfectly suitable for 13-year-old schoolchildren.

Jury member Vladimir Mirzoyev agreed, describing Sakhnovsky's collection of stories as "written in the best traditions of Russian literature, very delicate, not at all violent or vulgar".

Another jury member, the worldfamous author of Pushkin House Andrei Bitov, observed bluntly that there was "no eroticism" in the works of the finalists.

"This is an insurmountable barrier for the Russian language which is very shy," he said. "We should leave sex to ordinary people and not try to sell it in written text." Sakhnovsky said he had not censored himself and had simply followed the example of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita) or the Nobel prize-winning Ivan Bunin who, he said, had been "quite uninhibited" in their handling of intimate scenes.

Some of the judges believed that in the winner's work the delicacy of the writing had in effect removed all sensuality.

"The winners were writers who had put the emphasis on other things," said jury member Sergei Gandlevsky.

The awards presenter Alexander Mikhailov declared that "in Russia, as in the Soviet Union, there is no sex", an echo, 15 years on, of a phrase that resounded throughout the country when spoken by a participant in a televised debate during the period of perestroika.

The second prize was awarded jointly to three Moscow writers, Farid Nagim, Maria Loseva and Ilya Vetkin. ≈ AFP

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