Israeli fiction writer Ronit Matalon and journalist Shira Stav have been named as the recipients of the Bernstein Prize for 2009. Matalon is being honored for her novel The Sound of Our Steps (which is being translated into English) and Stav is cited for her daily literary reviews in Haaretz. Matalon has worked as a journalist and teaches literature and creative writing at Haifa University. Some of her novels have been local best-sellers, and her 1989 children's story A Story That Begins With a Snake's Funeral was made into a movie. The award for original Hebrew novel comes with a NIS 50,000 prize. Stav is known for her clear and concise criticism, well-supported arguments and gentle touch. The award for literary criticism carries a NIS 15,000 prize. The Bernstein Prize is awarded by the Bernstein Foundation, named after Mordechai Bernstein, in order to encourage young Hebrew writers.

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