mercredi 3 juillet 2019

UK: Le romancier Richard Zimler rejeté par deux organisations culturelles en raison de sa foi

"Just asking about my religious affiliation struck me as outrageous." (Richard Zimler)

Richard Zimler a fait preuve de beaucoup de courage en dévoilant que, dans le monde culturel, on n'a pas voulu de lui parce qu'il est juif.

Richard Zimler:
"I have never met antisemitism in Britain... until now" 
The acclaimed novelist on being rejected by two cultural organisations because of his faith

I have been publishing my novels in the UK since 1998, when my first book, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, became a surprise bestseller. 
I generally come to Britain from my home in Portugal whenever a new work of mine is released to give talks at bookshops, libraries and literary festivals. My publisher’s attempts to interest event organisers in me aren’t always successful, of course. But this year, for the first time, I have been turned down for being Jewish. A little context. Peter Owen Publishers launched my new novel, The Gospel According to Lazarus, in mid-April. An old friend of mine who is a part-time book publicist began trying to set up events for me three months earlier.

In early March, he called and confessed – in a distressed tone I’d never heard before – that he had just been turned down by two cultural organisations that had previously shown enthusiasm for hosting an event with me. “They asked me if you were Jewish, and the moment I said you were, they lost all interest,” he said. “They even stopped replying to my emails and returning my phone messages.” 
I’ll call my publicist John as he prefers to remain anonymous. He has also asked me to refrain from identifying the organisations that reacted negatively to my being Jewish. John told me that the final conversations he had with the two event co-ordinators convinced him that they weren’t antisemitic themselves but they feared a backlash – protests by their members and others – if they extended an invitation to a Jewish writer.

After our phone conversation, I was deeply shocked and upset. Facing discrimination is always unpleasant and infuriating and I never expected that my career in the UK would be prejudiced by my being Jewish. It made Britain seem like a place I didn’t know and maybe never knew. Even just asking about my religious affiliation struck me as outrageous. The situation seemed particularly ironic because I have long endeavoured in my novels to give voice to people who have been systematically silenced by prejudice and bigotry. Obviously, I do not believe that anyone benefits when writers are censored for their ethnicity or faith."
Lire l'article complet @ The Guardian

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