Sally Rooney denies Israeli publisher rights for Hebrew translation of new book amid Palestine tension

‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ was published in English in September

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 12 October 2021 13:20
<p>Sally Rooney, author of ‘Normal People’, pictured in January 2020</p>

Sally Rooney, author of ‘Normal People’, pictured in January 2020

Sally Rooney has turned down a bid from Israeli publishing house Modan to publish a Hebrew translation of her latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You.

Modan has previously published Hebrew versions of Rooney’s two other novels, Normal People and Conversations With Friends.

The English edition of Beautiful World, Where Are You was released in September and has topped the bestseller charts in the UK and Ireland.

An interview with Rooney originally published by The New York Times in September was translated into Hebrew by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which added further information relating to the novel’s prospective Hebrew translation.

The report also claimed that Rooney’s agent had told Modan that the request was declined due to Rooney’s support of the cultural boycott movement on Israel.

A spokesperson for the publisher confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that it would not be publishing Beautiful World, but did not confirm whether this was due to a boycott by the author.

Rooney has released a statement about the decision, confirming that she had denied Modan the rights in solidarity with Palestine, but would be “proud” to have the translated novel published in a way that was ‘compliant with the BDS movement’s institutional guidelines’

You can read her full statement here.

Several prominent figures from across the arts world have previously committed to a cultural boycott of Israel, in support of Palestine.

In May, 600 musicians, including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, published an open letter asking fellow artists to refrain from performing in Israel until there is a “free Palestine”.

However, the notion of a blanket cultural boycott remains a controversial one, even among many critics of the Israeli state.