The Charles Bronfman Prize Awarded to Author Etgar Keret

The 14th annual Charles Bronfman Prize was awarded to Etgar Keret, internationally acclaimed Israeli author, storyteller and filmmaker, Thursday, May 11th at the New-York Historical Society. The Charles Bronfman Prize – and an award of $100,000 – is presented annually to an innovative and dynamic humanitarian under the age of 50 whose work is informed by Jewish values and has global impact that changes lives and inspires future generations. Keret was awarded the Prize by Charles Bronfman, and participated in a conversation with creator and host of public radio’s This American Life, Ira Glass.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Glass, Keret talked about his writing, fiction and nonfiction, his family, his ideas about empathy and shared a solution for Middle East peace. On receiving the Charles Bronfman Prize, Keret said: “If I could ever wish myself any prize, this would be what I would wish myself.”

Keret, 48, best known for his short stories, graphic novels, film and television projects, is one of Israel’s most popular writers since his first collection of short stories was published in 1992. He was recognized with the Prize for his ability to convey Jewish values across cultures as a young voice of Israel through his storytelling. Keret’s work has been published in 46 countries, and translated into 41 languages.

Hosted by Prize founders Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, the conversation between Keret and Glass was the centerpiece of the program, which also included remarks by Canadian Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella and Israeli-Palestinian writer, Sayed Kashua, who nominated Keret for the Prize.

“Etgar’s writing is unique and universal. I am honored to award him this year’s Prize and welcome him to the Prize family,” said Charles Bronfman, the namesake of the Prize. “As an internationally recognized Israeli voice, his humor belies the humane understanding of this world he evokes. The people he introduces are real, and like us hope to find a better world.”

“Etgar Keret is a cultural polymath whose humanity emerges seamlessly from Israel’s complications and history, and soars transcendently over those complications and history to show Israel — and the world — that for democracy to survive, nationhood, culture, and justice are indispensable partners,” added Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada, who spoke on behalf of the international panel of judges that selected Keret as the Prize recipient. “The Prize judges are honored to be able to lend Charles Bronfman’s name to this magnificent public intellectual, a man who is never without his intellectual package of Jewish values, a man not only of his times, but a man who will make the times, and by making his times, he is a man for all time.”

Previous Prize recipients include Rebecca Heller, Co-Founder and Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project; Sam Goldman, Founder and Chief Product Officer of d.light; Eric Rosenthal, Founder and Executive Director of Disability Rights International; Karen Tal, Former Principal of The Bialik-Rogozin School and Co-Founder of Education Insights; Jared Genser, Founder and President of Freedom Now; Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director, RefugePoint; Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, Co-Founders of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP); Rachel Andres, Founder and Director of Jewish World Watch’s Solar Cooker Project; Dr. Amitai Ziv, Founder and Director of the Israel Center for Medical Simulation; Dr. Alon Tal, Founder of Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; and Jay Feinberg, Founder and CEO of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.


About Etgar Keret
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. 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), the Ministry of Culture’s Award for Film Making in Israel (2000), the Jewish Quarterly – UK Wingate Award (2008), the St. Petersburg Public Library’s Foreign Favorite Award (2010), the Newman Prize (2012), and each of his books has received the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Prize (1995, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2011). In 2010, Keret was honored in France with the decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. 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. 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.


About The Charles Bronfman Prize
The Charles Bronfman Prize celebrates the vision and endeavor of an individual or team under the age of 50 whose humanitarian work is inspired by Jewish values and whose accomplishments are of universal benefit. The Prize brings public recognition to their work and impact, providing inspiration to the next generations. An internationally recognized panel of Judges selects the Prize recipient(s) and bestows an award of $100,000. Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, together with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, established The Charles Bronfman Prize to honor their father and his commitment to applying Jewish values to better the world and to inspire the next generations.


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