Israeli author wins German peace prize

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010
David Grossman

David Grossman

An Israeli novelist has been awarded a German peace prize for giving a literary voice to coexistence.

David Grossman, whose books include The Smile of the Lamb and Someone to Run With, was announced as the recipient of the peace prize of the German book trade on Sunday.

Mr Grossman, 56, is a prominent figure of Israel’s left , and a campaigner for a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. He is close friends with fellow Israeli writer Amos Oz.

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association said in a statement that he had been recognised for having a powerful voice heard “throughout the world.”

“In his novels, essays and stories, Mr Grossman has consistently sought to understand and describe not only his own position, but also the opinions of those who think differently.”

The prize, first given out in 1950, is worth almost £22,000. It is given to "individuals who have contributed to international tolerance through their exceptional activities, especially in the fields of literature, science and art."

In 2007 Israeli historian Saul Friedländer was given the prize. Other Israeli recipents have included the former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, and the philosopher Martin Buber.

Mr Grossman’s latest book, To the End of the Land, follows an Israeli mother as she attempts to hide from the truth about her soldier son’s death.

He wrote it after the death of his own son Uri, who was killed during the Second Lebanon War of 2006 by a Hizbollah missile.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "I am particularly pleased that his efforts for peace and a peaceful future of his country in the region is now being honoured by Germany.

"I hold him in high regard and have great respect for his tireless work for understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Last updated: 1:11pm, October 12 2010