'Courageous' Novel Set in West Bank Outpost Wins Israeli Literary Award

Israeli author Assaf Gavron wins prestigious Bernstein Prize for writers under 50, for his novel "The Hilltop."

Novelist Assaf Gavron, poet Shira Stav and journalist Omer Lachmanovich are the 2013 winners of a prestigious Israeli literary award for writers under the age of 50. Gavron won the NIS 50,000 Bernstein Prize in the original Hebrew novel category, for his book "Hagiva" (“The Hilltop”), set in an outpost in the West Bank.

The panel of judges praised "The Hilltop," noting, “In what was far from an obvious move, Gavron chose to ... write a novel of great breadth, attempting to tackle the fundamental questions of the State of Israel.

"...But make no mistake: The contemporary incarnation of the traditional role bravely fulfills the function of literature – that is, the ability to tell our story, allowing us to understand it, consider it and even contradict it. ‘The Hilltop’ is a courageous, skillful attempt to measure up to the tradition of the novel," the judges said.

The panel consisted of Prof. Nitza Ben-Dov, Prof. Hillel Weiss and Dr. Uri Cohen.

A translated version of "The Hilltop" will be published in the United States in 2014.

Stav won the Bernstein Prize in the Hebrew poetry category for a work titled “Lashon Itit” (“Slow Tongue”). The NIS 25,000 prize was awarded by a jury consisting of Prof. Michael Gluzman, Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld and Dr. Tamar Wolff-Monson. “In her poems, Stav describes her split from her Samarian family. The crisis and uprooting – perhaps even betrayal of the family – are at the heart of this book,” they wrote.

The NIS 15,000 prize in the category of literary criticism in the daily press went to Omer Lachmanovich for his columns in free daily Israel Hayom. “The fluency and engagement of his clear and elucidating writing, presenting the essence of the book under review, [gives] credit both to the writer and the reader,” wrote panelists Eliezer Dar-Drezner, Liora Eini and Moti Rosenblum.

Dan Keinan