Readings of ‘Minor Detail’ at Frankfurt Book Fair and in Berlin

In the wake of the unspecified “postponement” of the Litprom award ceremony for the German translation of Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail, and the cancellation of Shibli’s event at the Frankfurt Book Fair, this weekend saw two public readings of the novel in Berlin and Frankfurt.

On Saturday, PEN Berlin held a reading of Minor Detail in the venue at the Frankfurt Book Fair where a discussion between Shibli and her German translator Günther Orth was originally supposed to be held. This reading, initiated by one of PEN Berlin’s two spokespersons, author Eva Menasse, featured Sasha Marianna Salzmann, Tomer Dotan-Drefus, Julia Franck, Deborah Feldman, Dana Vowinckel, and Menasse herself, who also read a short message from Shibli. PEN Berlin’s second spokesperson, journalist Deniz Yücel, gave a short introduction to the novel, while translator Orth attended as a member of the audience.

In Berlin, an estimated 250+ people stopped by the multilingual, outdoor reading of Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail that took place Sunday afternoon at the Hopscotch Reading Room, organized by Hopscotch, Khan Aljanub, and the Berlin Writers Workshop.

Volunteers from the audience took turns reading the book aloud, in turn in Arabic, English (in translation by Elizabeth Jaquette), and German (in translation by Günther Orth).

The atmosphere was solemn, but welcoming.
“As so many other ways of expressing solidarity with Palestine have been closed off to people in Germany and especially in Berlin by the state and its police,” said ArabLit’s Leonie Rau, “this event felt like both a protest against the silencing of Palestinian voices and a vigil for Gaza.”
More than 1300 publishers, editors, authors, agents, and others in the book world have signed an open letter of support for Shibli and for Palestinian voices.