David Grossman (2007)
Born January 25, 1954
Occupation Writer Citizenship Israeli Alma mater The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Notable award(s) Spouse(s) Michal Grossman Children 3
He is also a noted activist and critic of Israeli policy toward Palestinians. The Yellow Wind, his non-fiction study of the life of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip met with acclaim abroad but sparked controversy at home. Alongside Amos Oz, he has been one of the most prominent cultural advocates of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the eldest of two brothers.
His mother, Michaella, was born in Mandate Palestine; his father, Yitzhak, emigrated from Poland with his widowed mother at the age of nine. His mother's family was Zionist and poor, his grandfather having paved roads in the Galilee and supplementing his income by buying and selling rugs. His maternal grandmother was a manicurist. His paternal grandmother left Poland after being harassed by police, never before having left the region where she'd been born. Along with her son and daughter, she traveled to Palestine where she became a cleaner in wealthy neighbourhoods.
Grossman's father was a bus driver, then a librarian, and it was through him that David – "a reading child" – was able to build up an interest in literature, which would later become his career. Grossman recalled, "He gave me many things, but what he mostly gave me was Sholem Aleichem." Aleichem, who was born in Ukraine, is one of the greatest writers in Yiddish, though he is now best known as the man whose stories were the inspiration for Fiddler on the Roof.
Grossman studied philosophy and theater at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After university, Grossman began working in radio, where he'd once been a child actor, eventually becoming an anchor on Kol Yisrael, Israel's national broadcasting service. In 1988 he was sacked for refusing to bury the news that the Palestinian leadership had declared its own state and conceded Israel's right to exist.
Grossman lives in Mevasseret Zion on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He is married to Michal Grossman, a child psychologist and the mother of his three children, Jonathan, 28, Ruth, 18, and the late Uri.
Politics and activism
Grossman is an outspoken peace activist who is politically left wing.
Initially supportive of Israel's action during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict on the grounds of self defence, on August 10, 2006, he and fellow authors Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua held a press conference at which they strongly urged the government to agree to a ceasefire that would create the basis for a negotiated solution saying: "We had a right to go to war. But things got complicated... I believe that there is more than one course of action available."
Two days later, his 20-year-old son Uri, a staff sergeant in an armoured unit, was killed by an anti-tank missile during an IDF operation in southern Lebanon shortly before the ceasefire. However, Grossman explained that the death of his son did not change his opposition to Israel's policy towards the Palestinians. Although Grossman had carefully avoided writing about politics, in his stories, if not his journalism, the death of his son prompted him to deal with the Israeli-Palestintian conflict in greater detail. This appeared in his latest book To The End of the Land.
Two months after his son's death, Grossman addressed a crowd of 100,000 Israelis who had gathered to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. He denounced Ehud Olmert's government for a failure of leadership and he argued that reaching out to the Palestinians was the best hope for progress in the region.
Of course I am grieving, but my pain is greater than my anger. I am in pain for this country and for what you [Olmert] and your friends are doing to it.
About his personal link to the war, Grossman said:
There were people who stereotyped me, who considered me this naive leftist who would never send his own children into the army, who didn't know what life was made of. I think those people were forced to realise that you can be very critical of Israel and yet still be an integral part of it; I speak as a reservist in the Israeli army myself.
In 2010 Grossman, his wife, and her family attended demonstrations against the spread of Israeli Settlements. While attending weekly demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah [in east Jerusalem] against Jewish settlers taking over houses in Palestinian neighbourhoods he was assaulted by police. About the incident Grossman said, "we were beaten by the police." When asked by a reporter for The Guardian newspaper about how a renowned writer could be beaten he replied, "I don't know if they know me at all."
Awards and honors
- In 1984, Grossman won the Prime Minister's Prize for Creative Work;
- In 1985 and again in 1993, he was awarded the Bernstein Prize (original Hebrew novel category);
- In 2001, he was award the Sapir Prize for Someone to Run With;
- In 2004, he was award the JQ Wingate Prize (fiction) for Someone to Run With;
- In 2004, he was awarded the Italian prize Premio Flaiano;
- In 2004, he was a co-recipient (jointly with Haya Shenhav and Ephraim Sidon) of the Bialik Prize for literature;
- In 2007, he was awarded the Emet Prize;
- In 2007, he received the Ischia International Journalism Award;
- On February 2, 2007, he was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium;
- In 2008, he received the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis;
- In 2010, he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade;
- In 2011, he was award the JQ Wingate Prize for To the End of the Land.
Fiction in English translation
- Duel [דו קרב / Du-krav, 1982]. London: Bloomsbury, 1998, ISBN 0-7475-4092-6
- The Smile of the Lamb [חיוך הגדי / Hiyukh ha-gedi: roman, 1983]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1990, ISBN 0-374-26639-5
- See Under: Love [עיין ערך: אהבה / Ayen erekh—-ahavah: roman, 1986]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989, ISBN 0-374-25731-0
- The Book of Intimate Grammar [ספר הדקדוק הפנימי / Sefer ha-dikduk ha-penimi: roman, 1991]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994, ISBN 0-374-11547-8
- The Zigzag Kid [יש ילדים זיג זג / Yesh yeladim zigzag, 1994]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997, ISBN 0-374-52563-3 – won two prizes in Italy: the Premio Mondello in 1996, and the Premio Grinzane Cavour in 1997.
- Be My Knife [שתהיי לי הסכין / She-tihyi li ha-sakin, 1998]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001, ISBN 0-374-29977-3
- Someone to Run With [מישהו לרוץ איתו / Mishehu laruts ito, 2000]. London: Bloomsbury, 2003, ISBN 0-7475-6207-5
- Her Body Knows: two novellas [בגוף אני מבינה / Ba-guf ani mevinah: tsemed novelot, 2003]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005, ISBN 0-374-17557-8
- To the End of the Land [אישה בורחת מבשורה / Isha Borahat MiBesora, 2008]. Jessica Cohen, trans. Knopf, 2010, ISBN 0-307-59297-9
Nonfiction in English translation
- The Yellow Wind [הזמן הצהוב / Ha-Zeman ha-tsahov, 1987]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1988, ISBN 0-374-29345-7
- Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel [נוכחים נפקדים / Nokhehim Nifkadim, 1992]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1993, ISBN 0-374-17788-0
- Death as a Way of Life: Israel Ten Years after Oslo [מוות כדרך חיים / Mavet ke-derech khayyim, 2003]. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003, ISBN 0-374-10211-2
- Lion’s honey : the myth of Samson [דבש אריות / Dvash arayiot, 2005]. Edinburgh; New York: Canongate, 2006, ISBN 1-84195-656-2
- Smile of the Lamb (novel) was the basis for an award-winning film written and directed by Shimon Dotan.
- Someone to Run With (novel) was the basis for a film directed by Oded Davidoff.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cooke, Rachel (August 29, 2010). "David Grossman: 'I cannot afford the luxury of despair'". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/aug/29/david-grossman-israel-hezbollah-interview. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- ^ http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1154525864908
- ^ http://www.premiflaiano.it/frame.html
- ^ "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933–2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website". http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/Hebrew/_MultimediaServer/Documents/12516738.pdf.
- ^ גיא בניוביץ' (June 20, 1995). "הישראלי מספר 1: יצחק רבין – תרבות ובידור". Ynet. http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3083171,00.html. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
- ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3277639,00.html
- David Grossman: Writing against the Mechanism of Retaliation
- Johanna Baum, A Literary Analysis of Tramatic Neurosis in Israeli Society: David Grossman's See Under: Love, Other Voices, vol. 2.1.
- Institute for Translation of Hebrew Literature, David Grossman (bibliography with brief biography). Retrieved January 12, 2005.
- Eli ESHED, "Is Naava Home? Naava's Not Home" נאווה בבית? נאווה לא בבית] (Hebrew). Retrieved January 12, 2005.
- Grossman's speech at the Rabin Memorial November 4, 2006  Retrieved November 20, 2006.
- internationales literaturfestival berlin http://www.literaturfestival.com/bios1_3_6_989.html
- Jonathan Shainin (Fall 2007). "David Grossman, The Art of Fiction No. 194". The Paris Review. http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5794/the-art-of-fiction-no-194-david-grossman.
- David Grossman at the Internet Movie Database
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