‘My heart’s broken’: Woman’s rights group asks to be removed from German literature group

A group of women who accuse a German publishing house of discriminating against them after the group was excluded from the publication of a German novel by a member of the publishing house has demanded the company’s management be removed.

In their complaint filed on Monday, the women, from the Women’s Association for Literature, said they were denied access to the manuscript of The Princess of the Forest, a memoir by German novelist and political activist Georg Schlegel, which was due to be published in Germany’s biggest daily tabloid Bild in March.

“The publication of The Prince of Egypt, which has been censored by the German press, would have brought much-needed publicity to our rights and the rights of women in Germany, including a number of women, who were excluded from this book,” they said in the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed in the German courts on the grounds that the publishers were breaching their contract with the women by not allowing them to have access to their manuscript, is one of a series of lawsuits against German publishers in which women and other groups have claimed they were discriminated against by their publishers.

According to the Women in Literature website, a total of 3,700 women and girls have applied to the court to have their complaints dismissed.

The cases have ranged from alleged mistreatment of female workers, who have accused their employers of failing to pay for overtime to allegations of discrimination against minority groups, including women and people of colour.

German publishing house BMG, which publishes Schlegele’s novel in Germany and is owned by Axel Springer, has denied the claims and said that it is working on a settlement with the group.

“The issue of exclusion of women and minority groups from literature was resolved and the company is not at all involved in the litigation,” the company said in a statement.

The publisher of the book, Axel Springer GmbH, said it was not involved in any legal proceedings and said it does not consider women’s rights to be an issue of public interest.