Minor Detail is a novel written by Palestinian writer Adania Shilbi, a novel that was selected by the Liberaturpries 2023, by the German Literary Organization (LitProm), established in Frankfurt since 1980, its mandate is the promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature, operating from Frankfurt; in addition, it honors women writers from the Global South for a work newly published in German.
According to the New York Times, 13 October 2023,
The book and the writer were scheduled to receive an appreciation reward in an honorable ceremony, scheduled to be held at the Frankfurt Book Fair, 18-22 October 2023. The decision was canceled by the Book Fair organizers. The cancelation came after the eruption of the war between Palestine and Israel which started on October 7, considering the book as anti-Semitic.
Earlier, in its statement announcing the award, the LitProm association said that Shibli's novel was a "rigorously composed work of art that tells of the power of borders and of what violent conflicts make of people."
Its original edition, Minor Detail, was issued in Arabic in 2017; the novel consists of two parts:
The first is taken from a real incident related the rape and murder of a Palestinian Bedouin girl by Israeli soldiers that took place in Negev desert during August 1949.
The second part is related to track this tragedy by a young woman from Ramallah, who was shocked as she was reading the Israeli Haaretz Newspaper, were an Israeli journalist documented the gang rape of a Palestinian girl by Israeli soldiers, quarter of a decade back then, so she decided to trace the facts and its minor detail of this true incident, thus risked her life trying to obtain more information about its minor details.. The novel reflects war, violence, and the suffering of Palestinian people; a tragic incident in conjunction of 1948 Nakba.
The Road to Beersheba
However this novel reminds us of another novel about Bedouins in Palestine, entitled "The road to Beersheba" published in1964, written by British novelist and travel writer, political activist and socialist, Ethel Mannin, 1900- 1984.
The Road to Beersheba is a true story of an Arab family disposed in Palestine in 1947, and how the son, growing up in England, tries to return to his native land.
However Ethel Mannin visited Palestine in the year 1963 in order to see the Beersheba Bedouins in real, as a preliminary round before writing the book. She was hosted by the Bedouins, and by Palestinian public and social figures like Abdul Kareem Alami, my father, head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO then, Izzat Attawneh a head member of a family descends from Beersheba, and many others Palestinians prominent figures; the team the crew escorted her to the village of Beit Safafa in Jerusalem, a village which was separated by barbed wires thus disperse relatives of same village. In addition they showed her the borders dividing Palestine into two parts, one under the Israeli Occupation and the other was still under the rule of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan called the West Bank.
The novel English translation was produced by Elisabeth Jaquette and published in 2020 and was shortlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature, also was long listed for the International Booker prize the next year.
According to translator Elisabeth Jaquette:
"Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba – the catastrophe that led to the displacement and expulsion of more than 700,000 people – and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers capture and rape a young Palestinian woman and kill and bury her in the sand. Many years later, a woman in Ramallah becomes fascinated to the point of obsession with this ‘minor detail’ of history. A haunting meditation on war, violence and memory, Minor Detail cuts to the heart of the Palestinian experience of dispossession, life under occupation, and the persistent difficulty of piecing together a narrative in the face of ongoing erasure and disempowerment".
Is a translator from Arabic, Executive Director of the American Literary Translators Association (Alta) In addition to translating Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, other translation including:
Thirteen Months of Sunrise, by Sudanese Fiction writer and Journalist, Rania Mamoun was nominated as finalist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.
The Queue by Egyptian writer, Basma Abdel Aziz nominated for the best translated book Award and to TA first translation Prize.
The Frightened Ones by Syrian Writer, Dima Wannous nominated for the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literally.
The Apartment in Bab el Louk by Egyptian writer Donia Maher
Suslov's Daughter by Yemeni Writer Habib Abdular Sarori
About the Author
Adania Shibli is a Palestinian Author, essayist, playwright, short story writer
Besides her novel Minor Detail, she has other publications including:
Keep your eye on the wall: Palestinian Landscapes.
We are all equally far From Love
The banning of the reward and the cancellation of the ceremony for the writer and her novel will reflect undesirable results for the exhibition organizers that obviously are in support of Israel in the war conflict going on nowadays. Consequently, this decision will increase the importance of the book, and as kind of curiosity, the book will be sought by many readers around the world
A book that reveals the cruelty practices of the Israeli army, since 1948.
Noting herewith that the novel had faced Zionist attempts to exclude it from the German literary scene after it was translated into German.
It is very important to mention, while searching about the novel on the internet, some sites on the web that give the details about the book contents, were blocked.
This will take us back to the famous Phrase:
Blocking or banning a book increases its fame and makes it a bestseller.
Boycott the Frankfurt International book fair
Just few minutes ago it was Announced on X a post published by
Dar Suad Al-Sabah for Culture in Kuwait its withdrawal from the Frankfurt Book fair.
The publishing Dar Suad Al-Sabah for Culture and Creativity announces the cancellation of its annual participation and withdrawal from the 75th session of the Frankfurt International Book Fair following what Jürgen Boss, Director of the exhibition, announced in a statement, of his explicit support for the Zionist attack on our people in Gaza, where the Frankfurt Fair decided to allocate part of the events to support Jewish and Israeli voices, and to host representatives of the Jewish community in Germany, to justify the Israeli attack.
Meanwhile the exhibition announced the withdrawal of the award of the Palestinian writer Adani Shibli
and the cancellation of her pre-scheduled award during the exhibition. Dar Suad Al-Sabah expresses its regret for this dangerous trend that tends with culture and cultural effort towards inhuman action that opposes the moral goal pursued by human etiquette, The House also condemns this biased position of an Occupier and aggressor around Gaza into a mass grave, and to an open prison for more than two and a half million people who deserve a decent life. The House also affirms its support for the full Palestinian right and the return of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of a free Palestine.
Compiled by Rouquia Alami