Etgar Keret Wins Most Prestigious Israeli Literary Award

Keret is the winner of this year’s Sapir Prize for the short-story collection 'A Glitch at the Edge of the Galaxy'

Etgar Keret at Blacks private members club in London.
Richard Saker/REX/Shutterstock

Author Etgar Keret is the winner of this year’s Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious and lucrative literary award, for his book “A Glitch at the Edge of the Galaxy,” a short—story collection published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan.

The prize, announced at a Tel Aviv ceremony on Monday, is sponsored by Mifal Hapayis, the state lottery. It includes a cash grant of 150,000 shekels ($40,562) and translation of the winning book from Hebrew to Arabic and another language of the author’s choice. The prize is awarded for a specific work, not for an author’s life work.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Keret said, “I want to thank my editor, Hila Blum, who is always there and was never nice or polite, which is a trait that I admire.” He also thanked his wife, Shira, and his son, Lev, “And most of all I want to thank my mother, Orna. All my life I’ve been trying to create a character as large and funny as my mother. It’s good that there is a small and authentic woman in Ramat Gan whom I can visit.”

>> Etgar Keret's new book: As witty as a good Holocaust joke

The judges committee, headed by Prof. Orna Ben Naftali, also comprised Prof. Iris Milner, Prof. Zvi Triger, Dr. Naama Tsal, Dr. Romi Mikulinsky, Vered Lev Kenaan and Rafael Balulu.

Five works were nominated for the prize. The other works were: “Once There Was a Woman” by Yael Neeman (Ahuzat Bayit), Neeman’s third nomination for the prize, “Au Revoir, Acre” by Ala Hlehel (Am Oved), a historical novel set in 1799 during Napoleon’s siege of Acre, “At Night’s End” by Nir Baram (Am Oved), about an Israeli writer looking for the man who was his best childhood friend in Jerusalem and “Smadar” by Merav Nakar-Sadi (Bavel), about a girl whose parents abuse her and who finds refuge at her grandfather’s house. In 2010 Nakar-Sadi was the winner of the debut prize for her book “Oxana.”

This year the debut prize went to Aya Kaniuk for her first novel, “The Kingdom of Want” (Hakibbutz Hameuchad), about a psychiatrist tasked with determining whether a teenager accused of murdering her mother is fit to stand trial. She received a grant of 40,000 shekels and will have 500 copies of her book purchased by Mifal Hapayis and distributed to public libraries.

The Sapir Prize, established to encourage Hebrew literature, has been awarded annually since 2000.