Publishers have initiated a campaign to showcase Palestinian writers and their cultural history.
A coalition of publishers is currently promoting a seven-day campaign to urge individuals to read books written by Palestinian authors and about Palestinian history, with the incentive of free ebooks.
The #ReadPalestine event will start on Wednesday and continue until December 5. It was organized by Publishers for Palestine, a collective that released a statement in support of Palestine in November. The statement, which urged for the cessation of violence against Palestinians, was signed by over 350 publishers worldwide, including 40 from the UK such as Verso Books.
There are over 30 downloadable ebooks on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. These include Wild Thorns, a novel written by Sahar Khalifeh and translated by Trevor LeGassick and Elizabeth Fernea, which explores the lives of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank; Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation, edited by Mateo Hoke and Cate Malek, a compilation of personal experiences from individuals in the West Bank and Gaza; and The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World, written by Antony Loewenstein, which delves into Israel’s military industrial complex.
According to Róisín Davis, a literary agent at Roam Agency and rights director at Haymarket Books, Palestine and the Palestinian people have created a vast collection of literature, journalism, and poetry that should be recognized and celebrated. The books that are available for free give readers the opportunity to explore the diverse history, culture, words, creativity, and resilience of Palestine.
The majority of the titles are written in English, but there are also titles in French, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Polish, Indonesian, Slovenian, and Greek.
The group urges readers to share their top Palestine books on social media, highlight passages from their preferred authors, and view educating themselves about Palestine as a form of support. They also welcome independent bookstores and libraries to participate by promoting #ReadPalestine through displays and online content.
This action aligns with the United Nations’ International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day recognizes the passing of Resolution 181 in 1947, also known as the partition plan. The resolution proposed dividing the British mandate of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem designated as an international territory.
Publishers for Palestine expressed their support in a letter, acknowledging that the oppressive systems of white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism are evident even in the typically elite realms of arts and culture. They referenced this year’s Frankfurt book fair, where a planned recognition of Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s novel was cancelled.
“We denounce the involvement of individuals in both corporate and independent publishing who contribute to or approve of such oppression by being cowardly, staying silent, and cooperating with the requests of Israeli occupation and capitalist donors, funders, and governments,” the statement declared.