Irish author Sally Rooney won 2021’s Best Fiction award for her work, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” which tackles several topics, such as romance and friendship in a world that is unavailable on various levels, from the environment and economy to ethics altogether.
The award itself is minted by GoodReads, and it was won by a vote. Rooney won by a landslide 69,770 votes, as the runner-up received just over 43,000 votes.
The book revolves around four characters, and although Rooney wrote these characters as smart and deep, she also made them flawed, with insecurities and frustrating traits, which made them relatable to the readers despite being characters in a fiction novel.
This is Rooney’s second GCA nomination; she had come in second place in 2018 for her novel, Normal People.
Sally Rooney had been under fire for this book, as she disallowed it to be widely circulated in “Israel.” She refused that it be translated by Modan, an Israeli publishing house, into Hebrew.
The announcement of the decision came directly from her agent, who affirmed that she supports the cultural boycott of the occupation, and therefore of the Palestinian cause.
Rooney had signed a letter in May, alongside 1,600 artists, condemning the Israeli occupation’s crimes. They titled the letter “A Letter Against Apartheid,” and in it, they said, “Israeli apartheid was sustained by international complicity, it is our collective responsibility to redress this harm.”
She had long been vocal about her support for Palestine, having signed a letter in July, following the occupation’s war on Gaza in May of this year. The letter had requested the end of the global powers’ support to “Israel” and its occupation forces, especially that of the United States. The letter also called for governments to “cut trade, economic, and cultural relations” with the colonial regime.
Her decision to prevent the Israeli publishing house from translating her work into Hebrew was backed by her peers when some 70 prominent authors, poets, and playwrights signed a letter of endorsement in support of her decision.
The letter was signed by Irish authors Niamh Campbell, Kevin Barry, Ronan Bennett, and many other prominent names. The author also received US support from Rachel Kushner, Eileen Myles, and Eliot Weinberger, as well as the UK, support from Monica Ali, Caryl Churchill, China Mieville, and others.
Two bookshop chains, which own outlets in “Israel” and West Bank settlements, said they were pulling Rooney’s works from their shops in retaliation of her decision.
Despite the punitive measures, Rooney upheld her stance on the Palestinian cause and the Israeli occupation, still supporting Palestine and still condemning “Israel”, not prioritizing revenue over a humanitarian and ethical cause.
Her humanism and honesty seep into her novel, which made it the best candidate for the Best Fiction novel of the year.
Source: Al Mayadeen