Russian book fair blames publisher for canceling Navalny spokeswoman’s novel presentation
Following the controversy surrounding the cancellation of a scheduled presentation of a novel by Kira Yarmysh (the spokeswoman for imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny), the organizers of the Non/Fiction international book fair have released a statement attributing the decision to the publishing group Eksmo-AST.
According to the statement, AST-Eksmo — the parent company of Corpus publishing house, which released Yarmysh’s book, “Incredible Incidents in Women’s Cell No. 3,” in 2020 — canceled the presentation at the last minute.
“As for the replacement of the presentation of Kira Yarmysh’s book with a presentation of the book “Jerusalem” by Alan Moore, [it was] made at the last minute before sending the catalog of events to print on the initiative of the management of AST-Eksmo, we believe that the holding AST-Eksmo, the largest player in the Russian book market, has the right to determine its own program at the fair.”
Yarmysh responded to the statement on Twitter, calling it a “lie.” As she recalls, on Monday, March 22, the chief editor of the Corpus publishing house, Varvara Gornostaeva, specified that the book fair’s organizers unofficially asked Eksmo-AST to scrap the presentation.
Kira Yarmysh is currently under house arrest as a suspect in the so-called “sanitary case.” Non/Fiction cancelling the presentation of her novel provoked backlash from a number of participants, including well-known Russian writers and literary critics, who criticized the decision and, in some cases, chose to boycott the book fair entirely.