This year’s Gayle & Larry Wieseneck Israel Symposium will host four prominent writers from Israel. On January 17 in the Rackham Assembly Hall, the highly acclaimed writers Maya Arad, Ruby Namdar, and Moshe Sakal, and the prize-winning poet, translator, and editor Dory Manor will travel to Ann Arbor to participate in the symposium, titled “Hebrew Literature Today: Israeli and Global Perspectives.” These writers stand at the forefront of contemporary Hebrew literature in Israel and the US and will be in conversation with University of Michigan scholars and students. Supported by the Gayle & Larry Wieseneck Israel Symposium Fund, the Frankel Center has been hosting an annual symposium on a topic related to Israel since 2013.

Maya Arad received her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of London and is currently a lecturer at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University.  She has written several novels, including best-sellers Seven Moral Failings and her first novel, Another Place, a Foreign City, which was written in rhyme and won the Ministry of Education and Culture award. It was also adapted into a play at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv. Her most recent book “The Hebrew Teacher” (2018) is composed of three interrelated novellas about Israelis in the US.

Ruby Namdar is a writer and educator from Jerusalem who lives and work in New York City. His first novel, Haviv, also won a Ministry of Culture’s Award for Best First Publication. His most recent novel, The Ruined House, was recently translated into French and English (Harper Collins). The ambitious book was heralded as a masterpiece of modern religious literature, and received the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award.

Moshe Sakal is a writer, editor, and essayist, who was born in Israel to families from Egypt and Syria. He has written five highly-acclaimed Hebrew novels that were translated into several languages. His novel The Diamond Setter was translated into English in 2018 by Man Booker Prize Winner Jessica Cohen. Sakal’s novel Yolanda, which is being translated to English as well, was short-listed for the Sapir Prize. He has contributed to many publications, including The Forward, Salon, and Haaretz.

Dory Manor is among Israel’s most important poets and translators. He won numerous awards for his poetry, most recently received the Yehuda Amichai prize, as well as Tchernichovsky Prize for best translations of world masterpieces. He founded Oh! in 2005 and is the literary magazine’s editor. In 2017 he received his Ph.D. in translation studies and comparative literature from the University of Paris. Manor also co-hosted a popular radio show that includes music and literature.

In a wide-ranging conversation, these writers will discuss the meaning of writing Hebrew today in Israel and around the world, and the contacts between Hebrew and other languages. They will consider the challenges of translation, editing, and disseminating literature in a global context, as well as the political implications of Hebrew literature today.