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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Sally Rooney’s hit novel Normal People printed by state-owned Chinese publishing house

Sally Rooney’s last novel was printed by a state-owned Chinese publishing house, it has emerged.

The Irish novelist provoked a furious backlash this week after she refused an offer by Modan, the Israeli publisher, to translate her latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You, into Hebrew. 

The 30-year-old released a statement defending her decision, insisting that while it would be an “honour” to have her latest book published in Hebrew, she would not give the translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house, citing “Israel’s oppression of Palestinians” as the reason for her decision. 

It has now emerged that a Chinese translation of Normal People has been available to purchase on Amazon since July after it was published by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approved Shanghai Translation Publishing House. Four of the company’s senior executives are CCP members. 

The publishing house says on their website that they are “the largest comprehensive publishing house in China specialising in translation, mainly publishing translations of foreign literary and commercial fiction, humanities and social science.”

It is not clear whether the Chinese publishing house secured the rights from Rooney before publishing the translated text.

China has been accused of serious human rights abuses over the past few years, perhaps most seriously the forced internment of Uighur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang. 

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