Algerian writer Boualem Sansal was due to receive a prize of 15,000 euros. But because of the novelist’s visit to Israel in May, the prize’s Arab sponsors withdrew the award and “divorced” themselves from a prize they had set up themselves.
A celebrated Algerian novelist was given a top French literary award on Thursday in a ceremony that was marred by the withdrawal of its Arab sponsors.
Boualem Sansal had been due to receive the Editions Gallimard Arabic Novel prize for his book “Rue Darwin” [Darwin Street] earlier in June.
A15,000-euro cheque was to be given by the Paris-based Arab Ambassador’s Council, which founded the award in 2008.
But between being nominated and being awarded his prize, Sansal attended the Jerusalem Writers Festival in May – as guest of honour.
Militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called it, “an act of treason against the Palestinian people.”
By the time the writer was due to receive his prize, the Ambassadors Council had permanently withdrawn its support for the award.