Apology to Adania Shibli

A message with this wording has been sent to Adania Shibli on October 15, 2023, on behalf of Litprom board and team. We would like to hereby share its content publicly.

We would like to formally apologise to Adania Shibli for the difficulties that have arisen for her in connection with the planned presentation of the Liberatur Prize.

It was never our intention to question the awarding of the prize to Adania Shibli. We firmly reject the accusations and defamations made against her and her book in parts of the press as unfounded.

With the escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas and against the background of the polarising situation in Germany as well, we thought it right to hold the award ceremony at a different time in a less politically charged atmosphere — also to avoid possible disturbances or even attacks on Adania Shibli’s person. It should be noted that there was never any question of cancelling the award or even withdrawing it altogether! We considered this to have been agreed with the author when we made the decision public. This was a misunderstanding and mistake, as we later realised.

We would now like to reconsider together with the author in what form we can hold the award ceremony for Adania Shibli’s important book as soon as possible in a dignified manner appropriate to her work, taking into account what has happened and the unbearable situation in the world.

Litprom e.V. board & team

Published on Januray 17, 2024.

The LiBeraturpreis 2023

goes to Adania Shibli

October 16, 2023

Due to the war started by Hamas, under which millions of people in Israel and Palestine are suffering, the organiser Litprom e.V. decided to not hold the award ceremony of the LiBeraturpreis at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Litprom is looking for a suitable format and setting for the event at a later point. Awarding the prize to Adania Shibli was never in question.
Litprom firmly rejects the accusations and defamations made against the author and the novel in parts of the press as unfounded.

Palestinian author Adania Shibli receives the award for her novel »Eine Nebensache«, translated from Arabic into German by Günther Orth, published by Berenberg Verlag.

The novel consists of two parts: The first is based on a true incident, the rape and murder of a Bedouin girl by Israeli soldiers in the Negev Desert in August 1949. In the second part, decades later, a young woman from Ramallah tries to find out more about the incident.

The winner was selected by a jury consisting of Marlen Heislitz (Büchergilde Gutenberg), Peter Ripken (former journalist and development worker, former director of Litprom e.V.), Sabine Speiser (development policy consultant), Antonia Stock (bookseller) and  Raffael Weger (independent literary scholar).

13 authors were nominated whose works had been recommended on the Litprom's Best of-list Weltempfänger.
From this longlist, the jury selected 6 shortlist titles (website in German), which were presented on June 14 at the Haus am Dom in Frankfurt.

For those who could not be there: a recording is available on YouTube (in German).

The jury explained its choice: »In Eine Nebensache, the Palestinian author Adania Shibli creates a formally and linguistically rigorously composed work of art that tells of the power of borders and what violent conflicts do to and with people. With great alertness, she directs her gaze to the small details, the trivialities that allow us to glimpse the old wounds and scars that lie behind the surface.«

The jury also praised Günther Orth's excellent translation.

Adania Shibli will travel to Frankfurt Book Fair and participate in various events. The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, October 20.

The LiBeraturpreis 2023 is sponsored by the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art and the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain.

Adania Shibli writes novels, plays, short stories and essays, and is also active in academic research and teaching.
»Eine Nebensache«, her first book publication in German, was translated by Günther Orth and was shortlisted for the 2022 International Literature Prize of the House of World Cultures.
The English translation by Elisabeth Jaquette was nominated for the National Book Award in 2020 and the International Booker Prize in 2021.

The LiBeraturpreis is an annual award for women authors from the Global South. It was established in 1987 by the LiBeraturpreis e.V. initiative and has been organized by Litprom e.V. since 2013. The prize is endowed with 3,000 euros and is awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Nominated are the titles of female authors who were recommended on the Litprom's best of-list »Weltempfänger« in the previous year of the award. Since 2019, the awards ceremony has been held at Villa 102 of KfW and its foundation.


Marcella Melien
Tel.: 069/2102-246