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19.02.2009

Sale of Ulyanenko’s novel prohibited

   

As reported already, the latest conclusion by the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality last week concerned the new book by Oles Ulyanenko, laureate of the prestigious Taras Shevchenko Award, “The Woman of his dreams” was judged to be “pornographic”.

The book came out at the end of 2008 in the publishing company “Club of Family Leisure” in two runs – of 7 and 3 thousand copies.

The presentation of the book in Kyiv (at the bookshop ”Є”) on Friday evening did still take place despite the decision by the publishers to cancel it.  Oles Ulyanenko told those present: “The publishers have already severed their contract with me. In one month they sold a lot of books. During the last three days, readers have searched for the book, but it’s not available.”

Reporters phoned different bookshops and were told that the book was no longer on sale, and copies were being returned to the publishers.

- “Either Ulyanenko buys the print run or the books will go for recycling”, the Chief Editor of the publishing company, Svitlana Sklyar says. – He’s looking for a publisher who’ll buy the novel. I hope he’ll find one or else we’ll sustain major losses.”

The novel “The Woman of his dreams”, is about a retired general who, following the suicide of his wife, enacts his sexual fantasies. Ulyanenko is accused of detailed descriptions of sexual acts. National Deputy from Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence, the Manager of the Art Club “Last Barricade” Oles Doniy, 39, refused to take part in the presentation of the book.

“The Expert Commission stated that the author depicts sexual acts so vividly that people could want to repeat them”, he said.

He adds that the Commission’s judgment was signed by the actor Bohdan Benyuk, the singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, Minister of Culture Vasyl Vovchuk, literally specialist Ivan Dziuba, National Deputy from Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence Lilia Grygorovych and the writer Andriy Kurkov.

However …

“I didn’t sign anything”, 48-year-old Kurkov says. – “They added my name without my permission. I am going to write a letter of resignation from the Commission. I like Ulyanenko and particularly liked his book “Stalinka”.

Oles Ulyanenko has written ten novels. It was for “Stalinka” in 1997 that he was awarded the Shevchenko Prize. He completed “The Woman of his dreams” in 2006.

“My previous novels were more terrible than this book. The others, written but not published, will certainly rile the Commission. In Ukraine there’s some kind of not even totalitarian regime, but self-consuming, which we’ve inherited from Soviet times. Two years ago the novel was published in the journal “Courier Kryvbas” and everything went normally. They’ll even ban Shevchenko.

The writer and publisher Dmytro Kapranov, however, says that Ulyanenko made a mistake, and that he should have put a sign on the book warning that it contained non-standard language and was for those over 18”.

Slightly abridged from http://gazeta.ua/index.php?id=282835

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