Amid growing controversy and threats of
violence, a gay novel has been removed from the shelves of Azeri
bookstores, report Reuters.
Alekper Aliyev's Artush And Zaur is
the story of a doomed love affair between two men during the collapse
of the Soviet Union. The novel pairs men from two long-standing
adversary groups: Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis.
“My book is a fight against
stereotypes,” Aliyev told the news agency. “In Azerbaijan there
are two main stereotypes, the gay man and the Armenian. The worst
thing you can be is gay or Armenian, or to have any relation to
“I want to deprive them of this
instrument, and to explain to people they should not be afraid,” he
Aliyev, 31, said his sixth novel was
removed from the shelves of its only distributor, Baku's popular Ali
and Nino bookstore chain, at the order of police. And a March 11
book signing by the Azeri-born novelist was abruptly canceled.
“The police told them – if you
don't do it, we'll do it ourselves,” Aliyev said. “And they
withdrew all the books from sale.”
Since its January release about 150
copies of Artush And Zaur have been sold.