June 25, 2014


Heksherim: The Research Institute for the Study of Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture, has announced the Amos Oz Initiative for Literature and Culture to take place in Arad, with the support of BGU's American Associates. The program is made possible by a generous gift from Toni and Stuart B. Young of Wilmington, Delaware.

Named in honor of BGU emeritus professor, renowned author and longtime Arad resident Amos Oz, the multi-year initiative will enrich the community’s engagement in literature and culture, while providing a forum for discussion and learning with students and faculty to strengthen and educate communities and development towns in southern Israel.

“I am a writer and I believe literature is a great way to communicate and to better understand what makes a society function," says Toni Young. "We’ve always wanted to do more for the people of Arad and we believe the Amos Oz Initiative will help the city, while also promoting BGU’s Hebrew literature program."


The initiative will include an annual conference on literature and culture in Arad, research prizes and additional programming to foster a greater connection between BGU and the Arad community. BGU’s Department of Hebrew Literature and Heksherim: The Research Institute for the Study of Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture will implement the programs.

At the Amos Oz Initiative Conference, researchers from the Department of Hebrew Literature will have an open platform to share projects with peers and faculty from Israeli universities and those from around the world, as well as students, teachers and individuals from the local community. The conference will include lectures, cultural events and a special creative writing seminar.

BGU will also award a new Amos Oz Prize for outstanding writing to both students of Hebrew literature at the University and to promising young writers from Arad’s local schools. In the weeks following the conference, the program, “Connecting Communities: BGU and Arad” will conduct seminars at the visitor's center of Heksherim to encourage Arad residents' interest in literature and foster literary engagement with each other and the University. Amos Oz has written more than 30 works to date: novels, novellas, short stories, and essays, as well as children’s books. Oz is professor emeritus in BGU’s Department of Hebrew Literature and the incumbent of the S.Y. Agnon Chair in Hebrew Literature. The Amos Oz archive at BGU contains nearly 20,000 items, including all editions of the entire collection of his books, as well as his personal correspondence.