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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Amos Oz

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2007

A writer and a professor, Amos Oz (Jerusalem, Israel, 1939 - Tel Aviv, Israel, 2018) He soon became independent from his family and went to live at a kibbutz when he was 15 years old. At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he studied philosophy and letters and since then has divided his time between writing and teaching. A Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, he holds the Chair of Hebrew Literature at Ben Gurion University (Beer-Sheva, Israel), where he is currently a professor of Modern Hebrew Literature.

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Regarded by critics as one of the main authors of contemporary Hebrew fiction, his work has been translated into over thirty languages. His novels and essays delve into the tensions suffered by both the Israeli and Palestinian societies. He was one of the founders of the Peace Now pacifist movement, established in 1978 by officers and soldiers of the Israeli army reserve. One of his first books was Holocaust II, and was followed by such works as Where the Jackals Howl (1965), My Michael (1968), Unto Death (1971), Touch the Water, Touch the Wind (1973), The Hill of Evil Counsel (1976) and The Tubingen Lectures. Three Lectures (2003).

In addition to a long series of essays focusing on his country, such as In the land of Israel and How to Cure a Fanatic, he has published several novels in the nineties as well as more recently. Figuring prominently amongst his works are Don´t Call It Night (1994), Panther in the Basement (1995) and A Tale of Love and Darkness (2003). In 2006 he launched Suddenly in the Depth of the Forest in Spain and in 2007 launches Rhyming Life and Death. Amos Oz also has a prolific career working with the press, having published about 450 articles and essays that cover diverse issues related to politics, literature and peace. He wrote extensively for Davar, the Israeli Labour newspaper, until its demise in 1990 and collaborates with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. He was politically active in the Labour Party, but during the nineties he opted to support the left-wing Meretz party, appearing in its campaign for the 2003 parliamentary elections.

He was a full member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language and was awarded the Israel Prize for Literature in 1998. He has received numerous distinctions, some of them related to his advocacy for peace, including the Friedenspreis (Germany, 1992), the Knight´s Cross of the Legion D´Honneur (France, 1997), the Freedom of Expression Prize (Norway, 2002) and the International Medal of Tolerance (Poland, 2002). In 2004 he was awarded the 16th Catalonia International Prize, along with Palestinian politician and philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, in recognition of the works by both of these authors and their interventions in favour of peace and reconciliation. That same year he was granted the Bruno Kreisky Award for Political Literature by the Renner Institute in Austria for A Tale of Love and Darkness. Amos Oz received the Goethe Prize (Germany) in 2005, the Venezuelan Children's Literature Book Bank Prize for Sumji's Bike (2005) in 2006, and the Franz Kafka Prize in 2013. He was awarded the Grand Cross of Spain’s Order of Civil Merit in 2014.

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