Home 5 News 5 Literary Voices Rise for Ceasefire in Gaza

Literary Voices Rise for Ceasefire in Gaza

by | Nov 20, 2023 | News

 

Finalists at this year’s National Book Awards ceremony in Manhattan on 15 November joined novelist Aaliyah Bilal on stage as she read out a joint statement calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.

“On behalf of the finalists, we oppose the ongoing bombardment of Gaza and call for a humanitarian ceasefire to address the urgent humanitarian needs of Palestinian civilians, particularly children,” Bilal read.  “We oppose antisemitism and anti-Palestinian sentiment and Islamophobia equally, accepting the human dignity of all parties, knowing that further bloodshed does nothing to secure lasting peace in the region.”

It marked the end of a dramatic run-up to the awards that saw sponsor Zibby Media pull out before the event.  Zibby Owens, CEO of Zibby Media, which is a publisher and indie bookseller, wrote in a statement online: “I am deeply troubled to learn that all the nominees of the National Book Awards this year have decided to collectively band together to use their speeches to promote a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli agenda. As a sponsor, I am not comfortable bringing my authors and my team into a politically charged environment like this one, one that will make many of us feel quite uncomfortable — including myself as a Jewish woman….We know these times are fraught and difficult to navigate. But we simply can’t be a part of anything that promotes discrimination, in this case of Israel and the Jewish people. I hope your organization decides to take a public, strong stance against this one-sided, discriminatory behaviour. We will plan on not attending and rescinding our support unless we are satisfied with your response on this incredibly important issue.”

The National Book Foundation, which runs the awards, issued a statement in response:  “Winning writers are invited to accept their Award and make brief remarks. Over the years, these speeches have been poignant, funny, moving, at times political, and even, occasionally, controversial. At their best, these honoured authors’ words enrich, enlighten, and inform us all.

“Political statements, if made, are by no means unprecedented in the history of the National Book Awards, or indeed any awards ceremony. We are working with the venue to ensure a safe environment for all our guests. We of course hope that everyone attending the National Book Awards, in person or tuning in online, comes in a spirit of understanding, compassion, and humanity—the very things that the books we love inspire.”

 

 

Recent News

13Jun
Korea’s “K-Book” Exhibit at Paris Olympics

Korea’s “K-Book” Exhibit at Paris Olympics

Starting June 2024 and running until October, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, alongside the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea (KPIPA), is hosting a series of events in France focused on the Korean publishing market. These events include book talks, exhibitions, lectures, and a culture fair.   From June to August, an exhibition […]

13Jun
Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

The 2024 Beijing International Book Fair is set to open on June 19 and will run until June 24. This year, 15 new countries and regions will be making their debut at the fair, including Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, and Qatar.   Organizers expect around 1,600 exhibitors, with 1,050 of them coming […]

13Jun
HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins is launching another new imprint, Harper Influence, that will join a long list of ‘Harper’-named imprints across the globe.  Harper Influence will publish a range of nonfiction “spanning popular culture, from general lifestyle and entertainment to stories of survival and inspiration,” the company said.  It added: “Whether in the fields of entertainment, science, medicine, […]

Related Posts

Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

The 2024 Beijing International Book Fair is set to open on June 19 and will run until June 24. This year, 15 new countries and regions will be making their debut at the fair, including Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, and Qatar.   Organizers...

HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins is launching another new imprint, Harper Influence, that will join a long list of ‘Harper’-named imprints across the globe.  Harper Influence will publish a range of nonfiction “spanning popular culture, from general lifestyle and entertainment to...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest