Haaretz Columnist Ari Shavit Wins U.S. Literary Prize for Book on Israel

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Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit has been feted in the United States for his book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, due out in November. The judges called the book the most important work about Israel written by an Israeli in recent years.

The Natan Fund, a foundation that supports Jewish and Israeli social innovation, announced last week that Shavit had won its first-ever Natan Book Award. The foundation calls the work an authoritative yet deeply personal narrative of Israel's history, integrating historical and political insights with rare interviews. The book will be published by Random House.

The judges included three top American journalists – The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times' David Brooks and New Republic editor Franklin Foer.

The award has two parts; the first is $15,000 to be used during writing or editing. The second is unique: up to $35,000 for promotion and distribution.

The Natan Fund was founded in 2002 in New York by a group of young Jewish businessmen. The fund has pioneered a new model in literary prizes, highlighting an exceptional, not-yet-published, nonfiction book on Jewish and/or Israeli themes that has the potential to catalyze new conversations.

The 2013 prize committee was made up of Brooks, Foer, Goldberg, Matthew Hiltzik, Simon Lipskar, Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen and Tali Farhadian Weinstein.

"My Promised Land," whose manuscript was written over five years in Hebrew and English simultaneously, will also appear in Hebrew at the end of the year, published by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir. The book will also come out in countries including Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

Ari Shavit, right.Credit: Itzik Ben Malki

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