UAE Publishers Withdrew From The Frankfurt Book Fair After A Palestinian Author’s Award Was Revoked

Farah Makhlouf

The Emirates Publishers Association and the Sharjah Book Authority decided to withdraw from the Frankfurt International Book Fair after Palestinian author, Adania Shibli’s award was cancelled.

Adania Shibli was meant to be awarded the LiBeraturpreis Literature Prize in honour of her novel Minor Detail. It tells the story of a Palestinian Bedouin girl who was raped and murdered by Israeli soldiers in 1949.

The Frankfurt Book Fair stated that they want the event to showcase their support for “Jewish and Israeli voices” hence the withdrawal of UAE publishers

They tweeted “We will make Jewish and Israeli voices particularly visible on the #fbm23. In addition to the events already planned, we will create further stage moments for these voices. The #fbm23 stands with Israel in full solidarity” on October 13. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, decided to withdraw from the fair as a result.


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The Emirates Publishers Association stated:

Given the recent announcement by the organizers of the Frankfurt @Book_Fair, we have decided to withdraw our participation this year. We champion the role of culture & books to encourage dialogue & understanding between people. We believe that this role is more imp now than ever.

The Sharjah Book Authority also released a statement:

Based on the recent statement issued by the organizers of the Frankfurt International Book Fair, we have decided to cancel our participation this year. Culture and books always stand by to promote dialogue and understanding between communities! We believe that this role is now more important than ever.

PublisHer, founded by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, also released a similar statement and withdrew from the fair.

Litprom, the prize organiser, initially stated that the decision to cancel the award ceremony was made in agreement with Adania Shibli. However, they later changed their statement, saying they made this decision without her in a corrected article by the New York Times. In addition, The Frankfurt Book Fair stated this decision was not made by them which was also highlighted in the article.

The NYT article stated:

An earlier version of this article quoted a statement from Litprom describing the cancellation of the LiBeraturpreis award ceremony as “a joint decision.” Litprom later withdrew that statement, saying it had reached the decision on its own, without the author Adania Shibli.

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