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Sally Rooney Says She’s Open To Hebrew Book Translations, Just Not By An Israeli Publisher

The bestselling author defended her pro-Palestine position after backlash this week.

Sally Rooney Palestine

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Sally Rooney has cut ties with an Israeli publisher after the release of her latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You. The Irish author turned down an offer to translate her latest book into Hebrew using her usual publishing company, Modan, in political support of Palestine.

Her first two bestsellers, Conversations With Friends and Normal People, were previously translated using Modan, with the latter published in nearly 50 languages including Hebrew.

Modan had incorrectly told Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month that Rooney was flat out refusing to translate Beautiful World… into Hebrew full stop. In a statement on Tuesday, the 30-year-0ld clarified it would be “an honour for me to have my latest novel translated into Hebrew, and available to Hebrew-language readers. But for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house”.

“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,” said Rooney. “I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.”

She cited the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement behind her decision — a “Palestinian-led, anti-racist, and nonviolent grassroots campaign calling for an economic and cultural boycott of complicit Israeli companies in response to the apartheid system, and other grave human rights violations”. Back in May, Rooney also signed an international open letter, which called for the end of violence against Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers and armed civilians.

Rooney ended her statement saying Hebrew-language translation rights to Beautiful World, Where Are You are still available.

Image credit: Chris Boland