Author 'devastated' over Russian publisher's LGBT censorship

Author 'devastated' over Russian publisher's LGBT censorship

A Russian publisher's decision to cut a gay scene from American fantasy author VE Schwab’s fantasy trilogy, Shades of Magic, has been met with anger and "heartbreak".

The trilogy comprises characters including a "gender-fluid" pickpocket and a bisexual prince - but, as the Guardian first reported, Schwab was both "devastated" and "horrified" to find out last week this diversity was not reflected in the series' Russian translations, with a scene about a romantic relationship between two male characters being omitted without consultation.  

The episode - apparently in compliance with Russia's 2013 ruling banning "gay propaganda" among minors - has forced Schwab to cancel her series contract with the Russian publisher in question, Rosmen.

"The Russian edition of Shades of Magic has been my favourite. This week I learned that they redacted the entire queer plot w/out permission," Schwab wrote on Twitter on 9th August. "I'm positively devastated.

"I can only hope that another publisher is willing to do a better job," she further continued on the same thread. "I was absolutely horrified. Wouldn't have known if not for a Russian reader who read both editions. Publisher in total breach of contract."

She added: "It seems my only option is to have the entire series contract cancelled. I'm heartbroken."

A spokesperson for Rosmen told a Russian daily newspaper, Vedemosti it had acted as it did in order to comply with Russian law which bans "gay propaganda for minors", else it would have had to rate it 18+.

A spokesperson for the publishing house, Natalya Brovchuk, said: "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." 

Supported by authors including Patrick Ness, who nonetheless called the publishing house's actions "unacceptable", Schwab maintains she intends to cut all ties with the publisher.