U.S. author Dave Eggers, announced he will not attend the award ceremony to accept a literary prize he has been awarded by the Günter Grass Foundation following the controversy over Gunter Grass’s publication of a poem criticizing Western hypocrisy over Israel’s nuclear program.
In his poem, “What Must Be Said,” Grass labeled Israel a threat to “already fragile world peace” over its belligerent stance regarding Iran.
The Albatross prize, worth 40,000 euros ($52,000) and won in the past by literary luminaries such as David Grossman, was awarded to Eggers for his 2009 novel “Zeitoun,” which tells the story of the experiences of a Syrian-American after Hurricane Katrina.
Through his publisher in Germany, the 42-year old author said in a statement that because the organizers of the awards ceremony had refused to postpone it in the wake of the controversy caused by Grass’ poem, he had decided not to take part.
“In the wake of Mr Grass’s recent controversial poem, I felt that the award ceremony should be postponed, so the controversy would not distract from the very separate work of the Foundation and the subject matter of Zeitoun,” the author said.
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