Shimon Adaf, a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Literature and head of the Literary Writing track has been announced as the winner of the 2012 Sapir Prize, for his book ''Mox Nox."
The Sapir Prize is Israel's most prestigious literary award. It has been awarded since the year 2000, and is modeled on the British Man Booker Prize. The award is highly coveted among Israeli authors, not only for the NIS 150,000 award, but for its reputation as a serious sales booster.
Adaf expressed surprise upon being pronounced winner, saying he was sure he would not win. He apologized for not preparing a speech, and thanked his editor, his publishers, and his family.
He was born in Sderot and began publishing poetry during his military service. A poet, novelist and musician, Adaf studied in the program for outstanding students at Tel Aviv University, simultaneously writing articles on literature, film and rock music for leading Hebrew newspapers. He was also a founding member of the literary group "Ev" whose aim was to find a new poetic interface between classical and modern Hebrew. Adaf worked for several years as literary editor at Keter Publishing House, and has also been writer-in-residence at Iowa University. He was awarded the Ministry of Education Award for his first collection of poetry The Monologue of Icarus (1996), the Prime Minister’s Prize (2007), and the Yehuda Amichai Prize for Poetry (2010).
Prior to the announcement, Neta Gurevitch, the head editor of the Yediot Books publishing house, said that the five authors shortlisted this year are an exceptionally strong bunch. "What's beautiful about this prize its continuing power of propelling books into the consensus - unlike the Booker prize, whose influence in this respect has waned somewhat over the years."
The four other contenders this year were Lea Aini, Yiremi Pinkus, Sami Bardugo, and Bela Shayer.