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Lenin of the sexual revolution – Maurice Girodias – Olympia Press – The man who fought censorship by Sue Healy, Live Encounters Magazine January 2012 (Reprinted LE Volume Three Dec 2014)
The 1960s are often regarded as the period when Western society finally shirked the strict moral codes of the Victorian era. Events as diverse as the arrival of the contraceptive pill, the Profumo affair, the end of National Service in the U.K., an increase in affluence among the youth and even the advent of the mini-skirt are often cited as the first cuckoos of the 1960s’ spring.
While the abovementioned possibly contributed, to greater and lesser degrees, to the upheavals of the period, it would probably be more accurate to say the new liberal sensibility sprung from their convergence with other movements that had been chipping away at the roots of the establishment since the 1950s. Not least of these was an on-going axe-swinging at the Anglophone world’s archaic censorship laws. And the most determined axe-wielder was a Paris-based publisher, Maurice Girodias (1919-1990), whose small publishing house, Olympia Press, specialized in English language erotica and avant garde literature.
Known as the ‘Lenin of the sexual revolution’, Girodias often boasted that he had founded Olympia Press to ‘bait the hounds of decency’ and upset ‘Britain’s nanny judges’.
From Ireland via eleven years in Hungary and now living in the UK, Sue Healy is a 2009 UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. Her short-stories have won the Molly Keane Memorial, HISSAC, Meridian, Waterford Annaghmakerrig and Ted O’Regan Arts Awards and finalised for the Fish Short Story Competition amongst fifteen other shortlistings. Her drama credits include two BAI-funded radio plays broadcast on KCLR 96fm: Cow (2013) and The Daffodil (2014) both directed by acclaimed playwright Jim Nolan. She has also won the Sussex Playwrights’ Award and shortlisted for the BBC International Playwriting, BBC Writersroom 4, The Script HotHouse and Shoreline Screenwriters’ Awards. Her three staged readings include the 2013 Festival of Contemporary European Drama and the 2012 Brighton Arts Festival. Her prose is published in seven international literary publications. A 2013 Escalator Award Writer, Sue received an Arts Council grant to complete her debut novel which her agent submitted to publishers in 2014. She served as artist-in-residence on Inis Oirr (2013) and currently teaches creative writing at a Norfolk prison. Website: www.suehealy.org
© Sue Healy