Author David Grossman Wins the 2018 Israel Prize for Literature

Grossman is 'one of the most moving, profound and influential voices in Israeli literature,' Education Minister Bennett says

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David Grossman in Frankfurt, Germany, October 10, 2010.
David Grossman in Frankfurt, Germany, October 10, 2010.Credit: AP
Yarden Zur
Yarden Zur

 Author David Grossman was announced as the recipient of the 2018 Israel Prize for Literature on Monday. 

>> 5 must-read David Grossman Haaretz articles following his Israel Prize award

In 2015, Grossman withdrew his candidacy for the year's Israel Prize in Literature. He made his decision due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's incitment against Israel's senior scientists and authors.  

The prize committee, led by Prof. Avner Holtzman, noted that "since the early '80s, Grossman has taken center stage in the Israeli culture scene. He is one of the most profound, moving and influential voices in our literature." 

Grossman's novels, stories, documentary writing and children's books too are remarkable for their imagination, profound wisdom, humane sensitivity, moral stance and unique language, the panel stated.

"His books have been translated into dozens of languages, making him one of the best-known, most esteemed and beloved Israeli authors. For all the above reasons, we deemed David Grossman worthy of the Israel Prize for Literature, 5778," the panel added. Specifically, his books have been translated into 42 languages.

"Every candidate for the respected prize is asked to describe their lives 'as a story,'" Grossman wrote to the prize committee. "I would like, therefore, to end with a story," Grossman said, adding that in his novel "The Book of Intimate Grammar," he described a "small, symbiotic Jerusalem family which isn't very different from the family I grew up in."

"Before the book [Grammer] was published, I thought it was my parents' right to read it before others did. They read it and my father said, 'That's a nice story, but do you really think anybody outside our family will understand it? Since then, every time I see the book's translation into another language, I say, 'You see, dad? They understood. That actually is how I want my books read in Israel and abroad, in Hebrew and Chinese and Tamil, and for my father to think that only our family can understand them," he added.

Born in Jerusalem in 1954, Grossman went to school in Beit Hakerem, then at Leyada (the Hebrew University High School). He published his first story, "Donkeys," in 1979.

In 2017, Grossman became the first Israeli to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for his novel, "A Horse Walks Into a Bar," on the life of a stand-up comic over the course of an evening gig. 

Education Minister Naftali Bennett applauded the news on his Twitter account, writing that Grossman is "one of the most moving, profound and influential voices in Israeli literature."

President Reuven Rivlin also congratulated the author on the news, calling him "one of the greatest writers of the Jewish people."

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