Sunday, July 31, 2005

Literature award for Sami Michael

Listing the winners of Israel's prestigious President's Prize for Literature, the Jerusalem Post of 20 July reported that the Israel President's 'lifetime achievement award' has gone to Sami Michael, who has been the recipient of numerous literary awards both in Israel and abroad and who has been nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize(With thanks:Lily). Many adaptations of the 79-year-old Baghdad-born author have been produced on stage and screen. His writing, declared the adjudicators, reflects the East where he was weaned and the West where he flourished. It was also noted that Michael, who had initially written in Arabic before moving into the realm of Hebrew, had "infused Hebrew literature with a new spirit."

In response, Michael proclaimed literature to be "the spiritual territory of the nation." Writers keep trying to create out of collective memory, he explained, "and we keep going, because writers don't go out on pension."

The son of Israel's Iranian-born President Moshe Katzav, Noam, is himself a gifted writer but his relationship to his father seems to have disqualified him from the competition.

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