Literary agent claims ‘Half of British publishers will not take books that have any Jewish content’

Writer also told a mention of her book was dropped over the 'hassle' involved in mentioning Jews or Judaism


Writer Gillian Freedman was told by a website that they could not mention her book, Jews Milk Goats, because it was Jewish

An anonymous literary agent has said that half of publishing houses in the UK will not take books that have Jewish content or are by Jewish authors.

The agent was speaking to Stephen Games, founder of the independent publisher EnvelopeBooks, who revealed their conversation to The Telegraph.

Games said: “A very well-known literary agent of great repute and associated with books that one would immediately recognise said that he is having difficulty with his Jewish authors or writings on Jewish subjects because he just finds that much of literary London is now a no-go zone for Jews.

“He said there is no point putting proposals up to commissioning editors as they just are not interested,” Games went on.

According to Games, there is “a climate of growing hostility against Jews”.

Other figures in the book world have spoken anonymously about problems of antisemitism in the industry.

Gillian Freedman, 67, a self-published writer whose book Jews Milk Goats is about maintaining a Jewish life while living on a farm in rural Bedfordshire, said that a well-known website pulled a reference to her book because it was Jewish.

A contributor for the website, which Freedman does not want to name, had mentioned her book in his weekly column, but the editor removed the reference.

Freedman said that the site was worried about “trolls” who might have reacted to the inclusion of her book.

In an email that Freedman received from the website, the editor said references to Jews or Judaism “isn’t worth the hassle”.

“As it stands I’m afraid that I don’t think we can use much of this piece. In the current, rather febrile, atmosphere I think we need to give a wide birth to anything which references Jewish people and Judaism. It just isn’t worth the hassle that will ensue,” read the email.

The website has since apologised to Freedman.

Nonetheless, the writer is alarmed at the anti-Jewish feeling that has spread in the literary world.

Freedman said that her local bookshop would not show the work in their high street display: “Nobody in their right mind would want to put a book with the word ‘Jew’ in a window. Someone might put a brick through it.”

“We’re people of the book,” said Freedman. This weekend, Freedman visited the RAF museum with her ten-year-old granddaughter and said: "I explained to her that the Nazis burnt books. That's where it starts, they go for the books first.

“There’s an extremist fringe that we’re worried about.”

“I wrote that book in three months. Some people are just buying it in solidarity, but I do hope they read it too,” she added.

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