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November 5, 2021 12:13 pm

Major Israeli Bookstores Pull Works by Irish Author Sally Rooney After She Boycotts Publishers in Israel

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Author Sally Rooney in an interview with “PBS NewsHour.” Photo: Screenshot

Two major bookstore chains in Israel announced on Thursday that they will no longer sell works written by acclaimed Irish author Sally Rooney, after she said last month that she would not let an Israeli publisher translate her latest novel into Hebrew.

Bookstores Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim have removed Rooney’s books from their shops and online sites. The bookstores together have more than 200 locations across Israel.

In September, Rooney turned down a bid by the Israeli publishing house Modan for the translation rights of her latest book, “Beautiful World, Where Are You.” Modan translated Rooney’s two previous novels into Hebrew, but the writer explained in October that she would not allow her new book to be published by an Israeli publisher because she supports a boycott of Israel, in protest of its policies towards Palestinians.

The award-winning author of “Normal People” and “Conversations With Friends” said she was “very proud” her first two books were translated into Hebrew but, “for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house.” She claimed that she could not “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.”

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She added, “The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available, and if I can find a way to sell these rights that is compliant with the [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so.”

Rooney has received several book awards in the United Kingdom, including Book of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2019 and a Costa Book Award in 2018. “Normal People” was on the New York Times best-seller list for hardcover fiction for four weeks and has been adapted into a television series. Rooney’s debut novel “Conversations with Friends” will also be adapted for a television show that is set to air on Hulu.

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