Etgar Keret holds his Sapir Prize at the ceremony on Monday night..
(photo credit: SHUKA COHEN)
Author Etgar Keret was awarded the Sapir Prize, one of Israel’s highest literary honors, on Monday evening for his latest work, A Fault at the Edge of the Galaxy.
The top prize includes NIS 150,000 and translation of the book into Arabic and into another language of the author’s choosing. All of the other finalists receive NIS 40,000, all funded by Mifal Hapayis.
Keret beat out the other four finalists on the shortlist for the prize, including Meirav Naker-Sadi, Yael Neeman, Ala Hlehel and Nir Baram.
Keret is best known in Israel for his colorful, surreal short stories. A Fault at the Edge of the Galaxy is his sixth collection of short stories, and keeps up his fantastical, fast-paced style.
Upon accepting the prize, Keret said his win “really surprised me. I’m not used to winning Israeli literary prizes. The other books on the list were really incredible and therefore I’m very moved and flattered.”
The judging panel for the prize praised Keret’s use of language and imagination.
“The book, A Fault at the Edge of the Galaxy, touches the heart of the experience of global disruption,” wrote the judging panel. “The existence of Israel becomes a crumb of being in a world without hierarchies that has no single center, and has no controlling point of view. Through the language and seeming lightheartedness of Etgar Keret, emerges a very deep sadness. The different characters are connected to each other through alienation, loneliness, and a strong feeling of abandonment in the world,” the judges added. “Keret has turned the genre of short stories into the refined and necessary literary expression of this time.”
President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Keret on his win.
“My dear Etgar, the man with the narrowest house in the world and the widest imagination in the world,” Rivlin said. “The one who taught us that a literary world that breaks boundaries lives in our most day-to-day language, and that a minimum of words, and a maximum of heart can live in harmony in the same person.”
Many of Keret’s works have been translated into English, including The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God, Missing Kissinger and Suddenly, a Knock on the Door.
In 1996, Keret won the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature, in 2010 he was honored with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and in 2012 he received the Newman Prize from Bar-Ilan University.
But this was the first time Keret appeared on the shortlist for the Sapir Prize; he previously was nominated but fell short in 2010. Despite his immense popularity abroad, Keret’s work has not been greatly recognized by Israel’s various literary awards.
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