Acclaimed author Sally Rooney has rejected a bid to translate her latest novel into Hebrew over her views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Rooney, 30, was catapulted to fame by her debut novel Conversations with Friends, and Normal People, which was long-listed for the Booker Prize and became a TV adaptation. Both novels were translated into Hebrew.
Her latest creation Beautiful World, Where Are You has topped UK and Irish book charts since its release last month, but the Irish author has turned down a translation bid from Israeli publisher Modan.
In a statement, Rooney said “I understand that not everyone will agree with my decision, but I simply do not feel it would be right for me under the present circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”
While Rooney said it would be “an honour” to have her latest novel translated into Hebrew she said she would only sell the rights “in a way that is compliant with the BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines.”
“I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” she added.
Dr Gitit Levy-Paz a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute said she was “surprised and saddened” by Rooney’s decision.
“I am a Jewish and Israeli woman, but I am also a literary scholar who believes in the universal power of art,” she wrote. “The very essence of literature, its power to bring a sense of coherence and order to the world, is negated by Rooney’s choice to exclude a group of readers because of their national identity.”
Levy-Paz said that while Rooney has the right to express her views and criticise others she warned that “a boycott, especially a cultural one, is among the most slippery of slopes.”