A German organisation has withdrawn its decision to confer its award to Pakistani-origin British author Kamila Shamsie, citing her anti-Israel stance as the reason behind it, according to a report in the Pakistani media.
The German city of Dortmund had announced earlier this month that this year’s Nelly Sachs Prize would go to the British Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, the organisers said that the eight-member jury has reversed its decision and that the 2019 award will not be handed to Kamila Shamsie.
The organisers said in a statement that “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.”
“Shamsie’s political positioning to actively participate in the cultural boycott as part of the BDS (Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions) campaign against the Israeli government is clearly in contradiction to the statutory objectives of the award and the spirit of the Nelly Sachs Prize,” the statement further said.
Condemning the Dortmund decision, Shamsie said on Twitter that “it is a matter of great sadness to me that a jury should bow to pressure and withdraw a prize from a writer who is exercising her freedom of conscience and freedom of expression.”