- David GrossmanAuthor–Israel
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David Grossman (born in Jerusalem, 1954) is a major figure in contemporary Hebrew literature, writing for both adult and young readers. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and he has been presented with numerous awards—including Chevalier de l'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres, Prix Medicis, the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers Association, and included in the 2012 IBBY Honour List.. He is the author of ten internationally acclaimed novels, three powerful works of non-fiction, and a short story collection, as well as many children's books, a children's opera, and a play.
To quote one critic,
Grossman's writing has a lyrical intensity that deeply connects the reader to his characters' inner states, but he has also been a journalist throughout his career, and he grounds his fiction in facts.
In his literary and journalistic writing, Grossman does not shy away from complicated and controversial issues. He fights for the human rights of people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. He is active in social justice causes and in peace initiatives between Arabs and Jews. Grossman himself has said that "When you look through the eyes of the Other, you discover more about yourself." In his writing for young adults, Grossman has dealt with less common topics for children, such as the relationship between a boy and a lonely old man and the spirited lives of individuals in nursing homes (Duel); growing up without a mother and dark family secrets (The Zigzag Kid); and drug addiction and runaway teens (Someone to Run With). But whichever he subject or theme he turns to, Grossman strives to render the range and complexity of being human:
When I write, I try to enlarge my being and my emotional dictionary, not to surrender to apathy or paralysis; to show nuances. Every human story is so complicated that no one side is 100% right or wrong; each has its justice and its suffering. When I write stories, I reclaim things that have been confiscated and the right to be a human being in a situation that tries to obliterate my human qualities.
Grossman's picturebooks in particular are considered canonical in Israeli children's literature and are beloved by several generations already. His characters are household favorites, and his stories mix fantasy with daily life—such as animals in a painting coming to life (Itamar Walks on Walls) or a meeting between a boy and a rabbit turning into an understanding of how the Other is really a friend (Itamar Meets a Rabbit). Warm family dynamics are also a hallmark of his stories (Uri's Special Language, The Sun Princess, and Don't Worry Ruti). Grossman draws inspiration for his children's books from his own childhood and from his experience raising two sons and a daughter. His younger son, Uri, who figures in some of his stories, was killed in the 2006 Lebanon War. The tragic loss of his son had a profound impact on Grossman's writing. [End Page 24]