Mati Shemoelof, "The Prize" (Pardes Publishing, 2021)


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In 2016, the German government announces a new prize for Hebrew writers around the world, the Berlin Prize for Hebrew Literature, which will return the Hebrew Literary Center to it. Chezi, an Israeli guy of Iraqi descent who came to Berlin following his love for his German wife Helena, is the first winner of the award - for his book "Staying in Baghdad". On the morning of the victory, while Helena is having an abortion, a political storm arises in Israel due to his winning the prize. The Prize (Pardes Publishing, 2021) is a wild, honed and poignant satire about the literary industry - from the time the book was written to the days it was published, including editing and translating, distributing, publishing and submitting awards - and at the same time a touching novel about love and parenting, adolescence and identity. Shemoelof moves between these two axes - the soft and the sharpened - with admirable virtuosity, as he mobilizes alongside him a surge of humor, wisdom and daring.

Mati Shemoelof is an Arab-Jew writer, poet, activist, author, and editor that was born and raised in Haifa, Israel. He am currently based in Berlin, Germany. He had already published ten books both in Israel and Germany. His writing is diverse. It includes fiction, poetry, plays, articles for magazines and newspapers, texts for art exhibitions, short stories, and more.

His personal and artistic mission is to shine a light on injustice and discrimination. He looks to the past and to the future in order to find fresh new solutions for the present, and work to bridge existing cultural divides. For more see:

Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at:

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