Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua wins prestigious French literary award

New wave writer awarded the foreign-language category of Prix Médicis for his novel ‘The Retrospection’

Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua (photo credit: Chen Leopold/Flash 90)
Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua (photo credit: Chen Leopold/Flash 90)

Israeli writer A. B. Yehoshua on Tuesday won France’s prestigious Prix Médicis foreign language literary award for the French translation of his novel “The Retrospective” (in Hebrew, “Spanish Grace”).

The book was published in Hebrew in 2011 and will be released in English in March 2013.

Yehoshua won the “Prix Médicis étranger,” a subsection of the “Prix Médicis” that recognizes authors whose works were translated into French. The French-language award was founded in 1958, and a separate category for foreign-language entries began in 1970.

The book tells the story of an elderly filmmaker, Yair Moses, who travels to Spain to reconnect with a scriptwriter with whom he once worked, but had lost contact, launching him into a journey of reflection and reconciliation. After its publication in Hebrew, the book was translated into several languages, including French.

Yehoshua, 75, who was born in Jerusalem and resides in Haifa, is regarded as a forefather of new wave Israeli literature. He cites William Faulkner and Frank Kafka as his biggest influences. He is popular in France, where he lived during the 1960s;

Yehoshua’s best known works include “Mr. Mani,” “The Lover,” “A Woman in Jerusalem,” and “The Liberated Bride.” He has won numerous other international and Israeli literary awards, such as the Israel Prize for Hebrew literature, in 1995. His books have been translated into some 30 languages and adapted for television, theater, and film.

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