Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Sexual Violence is an ugly topic. And it is all the more disturbing when aimed at mentally-challenged victims.
In writing fiction, my central theme has been the battle between good and evil. Portrayals of sexual violence have been in several of my works. Most recently, in TARD, my hybrid novel, the plot included several disturbing crimes which served as the springboard for a far-reaching assembly of topics, such as vengeance, compassion, love, theology, philosophy, miracles, writing, love of music, and the meaning and purpose of life. So, has TARD been banned for going too far into the topic of sexual violence? And, did it have anything to do with its non-PC title?
Good questions. The answer to both is "No."
For clarification: TARD was submitted to MWSA as part of its annual awards program. The review was ended with a comment about its sexual content, which was crime-related, and within that genre, within current norms. However, MWSA chose, within its rights, to add the disclaimer. And I, as the author and a long-time MWSA member, respectfully requested that TARD be withdrawn from the awards program/process.
TARD is complex and multi-layered. The Military Writers Society of America found its content to be at the edge of its guidelines, and again, I respect their decision. However, the use of the disclaimer, in appearing at the end of a somewhat shallow analysis of TARD, propelled me to request its removal from their process.
Many critics have described TARD as an amazing, important book. I respect those opinions, as I also respect the position taken by MWSA. In fact, I'm attending the 2022 MWSA Conference, and am participating in three sessions of the program.
This situation is a wonderful example of what literature is intended to do. Thought and even contrary opinions are prompted by great books...please read and share your opinion of TARD. Particularly, share your opinion and experiences with being at the edge of uncomfortable topics.
Finally, I am thankful to Red Engine Press for publishing TARD, and for creating a forum for the examination and discussion of thought-provoking content.