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Azerbaijan: Writer Buckling Under Strain of Literary Controversy

The furor that erupted over his unconventional take on Azerbaijan in the early 1990s is taking a toll on writer Akram Aylisli.

Aylisli’s latest work, titled “Stone Dreams,” shuns a nationalist viewpoint on events, in particular the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, offering instead a generally sympathetic portrayal of Armenians. Its publication last December has touched off a full-throttle hate campaign against Aylisli, a campaign somewhat reminiscent of that unleashed against Salman Rushdie following the 1988 release Satanic Verses. Aylisli, along with family members, have been subjected to official retribution. And, in the most notorious instance of hate-mongering, Hafiz Haciyev, head of the pro-government Muasir Musavat Party, offered a 10,000 manat (roughly $12,000) bounty to anyone who cut off the author’s ear.

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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku.

Azerbaijan: Writer Buckling Under Strain of Literary Controversy

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