The Charles Bronfman Prize has named internationally acclaimed Israeli author, storyteller and filmmaker Etgar Keret as the 2016 Prize recipient in recognition of his work conveying Jewish values across cultures and imparting a humanitarian vision throughout the world.
The Prize was established in 2004 by Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, together with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, to honor their father, Charles Bronfman, his values, and his commitment to young people and their potential as change makers. Past recipients have been recognized for their significant contributions to a diverse range of causes, including: refugee rights, poverty, education, disability rights, the environment, healthcare, and workforce development for veterans. The Prize is accompanied by a $100,000 award.
Keret, 48, best known for his short stories, graphic novels, film and television projects, has been one of Israel’s most popular writers since his first collection of short stories was published in 1992. Hailed as the voice of young Israel, Keret is one of the most successful Israeli writers worldwide. His work has been published in 46 countries and translated into 41 languages, including Farsi, and has been featured in outlets including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, The Paris Review, Zoetrope and National Public Radio (NPR).
Born in Ramat Gan in 1967 and raised by parents who survived the Holocaust, Etgar Keret is one of the leading voices in Israeli literature and is internationally acclaimed for his work across a wide range of cultural endeavors. One of Israel’s most innovative and extraordinary storytellers, Keret, is best known for his short stories. Rarely extending beyond three or four pages, his stories offer a window into a surreal world that is at once funny and sad. Keret started writing in 1992 during his service in the Israel Defense Forces and has since published five collections of short stories, one memoir, four graphic novels, and four children’s books.
Keret has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize (1996), the Ministry of Culture’s Prime Minister Award for Literature in Israel (1998) and the Ministry of Culture’s Award for Film Making in Israel (2000). His latest book, and first non-fiction work, The Seven Good Years, was chosen by The Guardian as one of the best biographies and memoirs of 2015.
Keret has written several screenplays, including Malka Lev Adom (Skin Deep) (1996), which won first prize at several international film festivals and was awarded an Israeli Film Academy award. Keret and his wife, Israeli filmmaker and children’s book writer Shira Geffen, won the 2007 Cannes Film Festival’s Camera d’Or award and Best Director Award of the French Artists and Writers’ Guild for their film Jellyfish.
In an effort to bring literature closer to a younger generation, Keret initiated and edited Silhouettes, and founded the nonprofit StoryVid. Silhouettes is an anthology of work by young Israelis that aims to describe, through fiction, the difficulties confronted by people with psychiatric disabilities. Proceeds from the book were donated to help related causes. Keret’s StoryVid is a new media project that combines books and cinema to create, as The Paris Review said, “the literary equivalent of a music video.”
He is a regular contributor to NPR’s “This American Life,” and a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Keret resides in Tel Aviv with his wife, Shira Geffen, and their son, Lev.