Kamila Shamsie’s Book Award Withdrawn
In early September 2019, the German jury of the Nelly Sachs book prize decided to crown the British-Pakistani writer, Kamila Shamsie, as their latest winner, with praise for how her writing is “building bridges between societies”. However, when they discovered Shamsie supported the BDS movement, they opted to strip her of the accolade.
Kamila Shamsie has said that it is a “matter of outrage” that the Israel boycott campaign should be held up as something shameful after a German jury reversed its decision to award her the €15,000 (£13,000) Nelly Sachs prize over her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel
The eight-member jury had decided on 6 September to make the British-Pakistani author their latest winner, citing writing that “builds bridges between societies”.
But when they learned of Shamsie’s support for the BDS movement, they announced that they would cancel their original vote and withdraw the award.
“With its vote for the British writer KamilaShamsie… the jury honoured the author’s outstanding literary work,” they said.
“At that time, despite prior research, the members of the jury were not aware that the author has been participating in the boycott measures against the Israeli government for its Palestinian policies since 2014.”