Amos Oz

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Date and place of birth: 1939, Jerusalem

Living place: Arad, Israel

Theme: literature

ECC Participation: Honorary Committee

Icon of Israeli literature. Respected for his skill as a writer and unparalleled talent for explaining the complexities of Middle Eastern reality, Oz is also a master of modern Hebrew, an advocate for a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a commentator of current political events and a professor of literature at the Ben-Gurion University at Beersheba.

His novels and short stories are a sensual documentation of Israel from the past and the present. Oz writes about what he knows from experience: streets of Jerusalem filled with immigrants from Eastern Europe, the nascent nation, life in the kibbutzim, the sea as seen from Tel Aviv, colorful figures from his closer and more distant family, literary types, scientists and politicians. He enriches his own memories with fantasies, his recall mixes fact with fiction. Oz tries to save the past while simultaneously showing us the most important transformations of the modern world. About his openly autobiographic book, “A Tale of Love and Darkness”, he says that it “doesn’t make the distinction between the world of the living and the world of the dead.”

“When I was a young boy, I thought I would grow up to be a book. Not a writer, a book.”

His essays provide a wonderfully rich source of information about the culture, history, politics and people of Israel. In his political writings, Oz not only examines the roots of conflict in the Middle East, he also proposes several concrete solutions to these problems.

Oz commented on the speculation about him receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature by saying: “If I could condense sense of humor enough to make caplets out of it, I’d convince everyone to take them. This way people would finally become immune to fanaticism. Then I would be a good candidate for the Nobel Prize, only not in Literature, but rather Medicine.”

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