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Iddo Gefen wins Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

The author’s experiences as a neurocognitive researcher informed his short-story collection, “Jerusalem Beach.”

Iddo Gefen. Photo by Uri Barkat.
Iddo Gefen. Photo by Uri Barkat.

Iddo Gefen, an Israeli writer and cognitive psychology doctoral student at Columbia University, has won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his short-story collection, “Jerusalem Beach.” The prize is supported by the National Library of Israel.

“Through a series of snapshots of contemporary life in Israel, Gefen reveals a world that’s a step from the familiar,” according to a description of the book on the author’s website.

Gefen has already sold the movie and television rights for some of the “snapshots,” which include “a man’s grandfather joins an army platoon of geriatrics looking for purpose in old age” and “an elderly couple searches for a beach that doesn’t exist.”

He and translator Daniella Zamir will share the $100,000 prize with 75% going to Gefen and 25% to Zamir.

An Aug. 9 event in Jerusalem is planned to honor the two, as well as the finalists for the prize and their translators.

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