For the first time in the spring, Moscow hosts the Non/fiction book fair It seems that all is not as bad as in December 2022. But the laws on “gay propaganda” and “foreign agents” leave no hope for the future.

What preceded the fair this year

On the decision to hold the Salon Non/fiction not once, but twice a year (in spring and at the beginning of winter) was announced less than a week before a full-scale attack on Ukraine. As a result, the spring fair did not take place in 2022, and the winter fair was held in December under the most difficult conditions for the industry: due to the war, many foreign authors denied be published in Russian; law on total ban “Gay propaganda” has greatly reduced the range of literature available on the market. In 2022, there were no international guests at the fair, but there were events with a bright “patriotic” tone, such as the presentation of “z-poetry”. Finally, publishers faces with attempts to remove the literature presented by them directly from the stands.

The first spring fair, postponed to this year and taking place in the same place, in Gostiny Dvor, also began with the presentation of collections of poetry with the unequivocal titles “To the music of Wagner” and “The great checkpoint. Donbass Poetry Anthology 2014-2022 » However, critics and contributors notethat in general it turned out to be “less scandalous” than that of December. So, among the participants of the current fair there is Popcorn Books, which published the book “Summer in a Pioneer Tie” in 2022, after which the authorities began their campaign against the so-called “gay propaganda”. In winter they are at the exhibition they didn’t let me inand this time how writing publishing house representatives, “not all books will be for sale for reasons beyond our control that are unrelated to the December law” (i.e. the law against the LGBTQ community) .

Some of the books were not allowed to exhibit and Individuum, a popcorn-friendly publishing house. “The category of junk literature that Gostiny Dvor’s face check won’t pass includes books on Russian literature, cooking, feminism, IVF, vodka, as well as texts written by a neural network and a collection of children’s fairy tales. We do not find any logic in this, but, apparently, it is not necessary to look for it, ”- writing publishing house in its telegram channel. A source at a non-fiction publishing house told Meduza that in their case, lists of banned books were received from the organizing committee after the booth was finally approved. Meduza’s source at another major publisher said he was seriously considering hiring special guards for his stand, fearing “people in camouflage” might overreact to some of the books on display. However, in the end, this idea was abandoned.

On Sunday, April 9, the fair is set to premiere “To Heaven” – a new novel by Hanya Yanagihara (more info below). In the Russian context, it is particularly important that all the characters in this novel (as well as in A Little Life) are homosexual. How writing Literary critic Galina Yuzefovich, “many people consider the publication of the novel in Russia as a kind of bench experiment: by the reaction of the authorities to the book (or its absence), it will be possible to judge the seriousness of domestic guardians in their intentions to eradicate any LGBT motif in literature.

The fair presents books by authors declared “foreign agents” by the Russian authorities – marked “18+” and, as is now done in Russian bookstores, under a film that hides the cover. However, a source from one of the publishing houses told Meduza that, in their case, works by “foreign agents” were asked to be removed from the fair. According to him, “there was no pressure from the state, but there was pressure from the organizers of the fair – we were asked to withdraw a significant number of our books, considering them dangerous”. At the same time, the organizers assured that they would “ensure a high level of security and order at the fair”.

Attempts to remove books from stands, as in December, have yet to be reported. However, all things considered, a source for Meduza at one of the non-fiction publishing houses admits that she doesn’t know if she will participate in Non/fiction in the future.

Very scary for everyone New laws on “foreign agents” and “gay propaganda” have shocked the book market. Galina Yuzefovich tells what her players think

Very scary for everyone New laws on “foreign agents” and “gay propaganda” have shocked the book market. Galina Yuzefovich tells what her players think

What can be done before the end of the fair

If you like Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara’s new novel came out eight years after A Little Life. The plot of “To Paradise” unfolds in three eras at once: an imaginary (and far more liberal than in historical reality) America of 1893, the real USA of 1993, and their own totalitarian future of 2093. American critics have been confused not only in assessing the merits of the novel (it has already happened with A Little Life), but even in trying to determine what its main storyline is (in this sense it is even less unequivocal). . AT 1 PM translators Alexandra Borisenko, Anna Gaidenko and Viktor Sonkin, as well as editor-in-chief Ekaterina Vladimirskaya will discuss all these issues.

If you want to understand what is happening today

At 2:00 p.m. Levada Center sociologists Lev Gudkov and Natalia Zorkaya, with the participation of their colleague Alexei Levinson, will present the monograph Post-Soviet Youth: Preliminary Results, in which they compare two generations of post-Soviet youth – those born in the middle or late 1980s, and those born in the mid to late 1990s. authoritarianism, which began in the 2000s and eventually led to full-scale conflict with Ukraine and the Western world.

If you don’t want to know more about today’s events

At 2:00 p.m. the Ad Marginem publishing house will present a translation into Russian “Balkan Trilogy” British writer Olivia Manning. The events of these books take place against the backdrop of World War II. The beginning of the war found the heroes in Bucharest, from where, in the end, they also had to flee to Athens. Anthony Burgess has called Manning’s books “the best fictional account of the war”.

Even if the twentieth century is too close for you

AT 1 PM And at 3:00 p.m. Medieval historian Mikhail Mayzuls (and the only two-time Enlightener Award winner) will present his books “Idol, Fight Back!” The cult of images and iconoclastic violence in the Middle Ages” and “Wax feet, iron eyes”. The first tells how and why medieval peoples destroyed various visual images: from manuscripts with images of demons to statues of saints. The second (Maizuls wrote it together with Sergei Zotov and Dmitry Antonov) tells about the practice of “the exchange of gifts between the people and the higher powers” in Russia and the West. Believers brought gifts to God and to the saints and always bring them to churches to ask for their help or to thank them for a miracle.

The complete Sunday program can be studied on site non-fiction

what to buy

In addition to the books we have already mentioned, you can study list, compiled by reviewer Mikhail Mamlyga. Not forgetting the book by journalist Alexander Baunov “End of Regime” — on the fall of three European dictatorships in the 20th century (on the stand of the publishing house Alpina Publisher). And about the book by left-wing activist Lev Skoryakin “Sakharov’s Diary” – on the daily life of the Russian dictatorship in the special detention center of Sakharov near Moscow. This literature is also presented at the fair, it can be found on the stand of the Alliance of Independent Publishers; Skoryakin himself, who is on trial for hooliganism, LEFT From Russia.

There’s a lot less good stuff in Non/fiction in 2022 than usual (what happened?) Nevertheless, Galina Yuzefovich chose the top 20 new books to pay attention to

There’s a lot less good stuff in Non/fiction in 2022 than usual (what happened?) Nevertheless, Galina Yuzefovich chose the top 20 new books to pay attention to

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