Leading writers support Sally Rooney decision to refuse publication in Israel

Seventy prominent writers, poets and playwrights signed a letter endorsing Sally Rooney’s decision to reject a contract offer with an Israeli publishing house, calling it “a model response to the increasing injustice being inflicted on Palestinians.”

The signatories include Irish writers Niamh Campbell, Kevin Barry, Ronan Bennett, Keith Ridgway, Sean Hewitt, Rita Ann Higgins, Emyr Martin and William Wall; Rachel Kushner, Elaine Miles and Elliot Weinberger from the United States; Monica Ali, Caryl Churchill, China Mayville and Camilla Shamsi from the United Kingdom.

In May, Rooney was one of more than 1,600 artists “… who condemned Israel’s crimes in a message against apartheid. They said Israeli apartheid “was sustained through international complicity; It is our collective responsibility to repair this damage.”

Two bookstore chains with outlets in both Israel and settlements in the occupied West Bank said they were withdrawing Rooney’s novels from their stores in retaliation. The signatories, including publishers Alexandra Pringle, Jack Testard and Carmen Calel, affirmed their commitment to the Palestinian people, saying: [Rooney]We will continue to respond to the Palestinian call for effective solidarity, just as millions supported the campaign against apartheid in South Africa.”

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As fellow writers, we would like to express our support for novelist Sally Rooney.

Palestinian artists have asked their international colleagues to end complicity in Israel’s violations of their human rights, and for many of us this is a clear moral obligation. Thus, Sally Rooney’s refusal to sign a contract with a major Israeli publisher – which markets the work of the Israeli Ministry of Defense – is a typical response to the growing grievances faced by Palestinians.

It has been less than a year since Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel “dispossessed, detained, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians”, which amounted to “apartheid crimes and persecution” against humanity. A few months have passed since the last bombing of Gaza, since the last incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the new round of expulsion orders in occupied East Jerusalem.

This is the context of Sally Rooney’s decision. In making it, she is not alone. In May, she was one of more than 1,600 artists who condemned Israel’s crimes in a “Message Against Apartheid.” They said that Israeli apartheid is ‘supported by international complicity. It is our collective responsibility to repair this damage’.

In our support of Sally Rooney, we reaffirm that responsibility. Like her, we will continue to respond to the Palestinian call for effective solidarity, just as millions supported the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. We will continue to support the peaceful Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Maen Abu Talib is a writer

Hanan Al Sheikh is a writer

Tariq Ali is a writer and broadcaster

Monica Ali is a writer

Souad Al-Amri is a writer

Kevin Barry Writer

Ronan Bennett is a writer and screenwriter

Nicholas Blencoe is a writer

Season writer Butler, artist

Carmen Callel is a writer, publisher and critic

Niamh Campbell the writer

Playwright Caryl Churchill

Sarah Clancy the poet

Screenwriter Isabel Coixet

Robert Cover is a writer

Molly Crabapple is a writer and artist

Writer Salma Dabbagh

Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz is a writer

Writer Jeff Dyer

Ben Ehrenrich is a writer and journalist

Inoua Elamis is a writer and artist

Lyn Gaspard Publisher

Francisco Goldman writer

David Harsnett poet

Poet and critic Sean Hewitt

Poet Rita Ann Higgins

Rachel Holmes is a writer

Brigid Keenan is a writer

Hana Khalil, playwright

Nancy Krikorian is a writer

Writer Rachel Kushner

Screenwriter Paul Lafferty

Poet Ed Locker

Sabrina Mahfouz is a poet and playwright

Written by Emir Martin

Ahmed Masoud the writer

Writer Tessa McQuatt

Pauline Melville is a writer

Written by Lina Marawan

China writer Miéville

Dana Naomi Mills is a writer

Writer Pankaj Mishra

Publisher Michael S. Monopek

Poet Eileen Miles

Karthika Nair is a poet

Courtia Newland is a writer and screenwriter

Andrew O’Hagan is a writer

John Oaks Publisher

Nii Aikoi Parks is a writer, editor and curator

Historian Vijay Prashad, Editor

Publisher Alexandra Pringle

Keith Ridgway is a writer

Screenwriter David Reeker

Bruce Robbins is a writer and researcher

Publisher Colin Robinson

Andrew Ross Writer

Joe Sacco, cartoonist and journalist

sapphire writer

Screenwriter James Schamus

Camila Shamsi is a writer

Writer Jack Schenker

Rick Simonson, the bookseller

Writer Gillian Slovo

Ahdaf Soueif is a writer

Jack Testard Publisher

Playwright, performer

Writer William Wall

Naomi Wallace, playwright, screenwriter

Author Elliot Weinberger

Penny Woolcock, Screenwriter and Director

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