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Sharjah Book Authority and Emirates Publishers Association Withdraw from Frankfurt Book Fair

In response to the cancellation of an award to Palestinian author Adania Shibli and subsequent statements by the organisers of the Frankfurt International Book Fair, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) have jointly decided to withdraw from the event.

The LiBeraturpreis Literature Prize, intended to honour Shibli for her novel “Minor Detail” depicting the tragic 1949 incident involving a Palestinian Bedouin girl, was rescinded amid escalating tensions surrounding the Israel-Gaza conflict. LitProm, the award organisers, initially claimed the decision was mutual, but later clarified that it was solely their choice, citing the inauspicious climate for celebrations.

Both the EPA and SBA released statements affirming their belief in the pivotal role of culture and literature in fostering dialogue and understanding. They emphasized the increasing significance of this role in current times.

In a LinkedIn post, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, founder of EPA and chairperson of SBA, emphasized the universal right to live in safety, particularly in regions affected by armed conflict. She advocated for the power of books, culture, and diverse voices to mitigate tensions and promote unity, ultimately contributing to the prospects of peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt International Book Fair, condemned recent attacks by Hamas in Israel. As a response, the fair has decided to amplify the representation of Israeli and Jewish voices, incorporating additional moments on stage to highlight their perspectives during the event.

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