ENTERTAINMENT

Frankfurt Book Fair Hit By Palestinian Author Row

Frankfurt Book Fair Hit By Palestinian Author Row

The annual fair is the world’s biggest publishing trade event

Frankfurt:

The postponement of a Palestinian author’s award ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair due to the Israel-Hamas war triggered condemnation Monday from high-profile authors, while several Arab publishing groups withdrew.

The annual fair is the world’s biggest publishing trade event, bringing together thousands of book industry players and authors.

After the Palestinian group launched the deadliest assault in Israel’s history on October 7, organisers condemned the “barbaric” attack and said Israeli voices would be given prominence at the book fair.

But it was also announced that Palestinian author Adania Shibli would not be honoured with the LiBeraturpreis, a German award, at the fair, as had been originally planned.

She was due to receive the honour for her book “A Minor Detail,” a work based on the real events of a 1949 rape and murder by Israeli soldiers.

It is organised by the group Litprom, which awards it each year at the book fair.

But the group said they had decided not to go ahead with the ceremony “due to the war started by Hamas”.

It said in a statement that it was looking for a “suitable format and setting for the event at a later point,” adding that: “Awarding the prize to Adania Shibli was never in question.”

But the decision was condemned in an open letter with over 600 signatories, including Abdulrazak Gurnah and Olga Tokarczuk, both winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and other writers including Pankaj Mishra, William Dalrymple and Colm Toibin.

The organisers were “closing out the space for a Palestinian voice”, said the letter, published on Monday.

“The Frankfurt Book Fair has a responsibility, as a major international book fair, to be creating spaces for Palestinian writers to share their thoughts, feelings, reflections on literature through these terrible, cruel times, not shutting them down,” it added.

As well as authors, it was signed by publishers and literary agents.

Some Arab publishing industry groups announced at the weekend they were pulling out of the fair, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday.

Announcing their withdrawal, Sharjah Book Authority, in the United Arab Emirates, said in a statement that “we champion the role of culture and books to encourage dialogue and understanding between people.

“We believe that this role is more important than ever.”

The Emirates Publishers Association released a similar statement, while the UAE-based National newspaper reported the Arab Publishers’ Association in Egypt had also pulled out.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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