Spanish author Antonio Muñoz Molina will receive the Jerusalem Prize at the 2013 Jerusalem International Book Fair, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The
Jerusalem Prize, which was announced Tuesday, is awarded to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the “freedom of the individual in society.” Five authors who have won the prize subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Literature. read more
Israeli author Alex Epstein has stumbled upon a novel way to expose new readers to his work — by “publishing” it on Facebook. It’s an experiment that could foretell a new paradigm in book publishing, according to Epstein: a way of leveraging social networks to interest new readers in an author’s work, and perhaps even change the concept of “book” as it applies online.
Epstein is actually an accomplished writer who has authored 10 books, including four collections of short stories and three novels; his work has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Croatian, and Italian, and in 2003 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat appointed last week Avi Pazner, former Israeli ambassador to Italy and France and former chairman of Keren Hayesod, as chairman of the Jerusalem International Book Fair.
Barkat congratulated Pazner on the appointment and said: “Ambassador Pazner is a man of many accomplishments and many years’ international experience in public managerial positions. I am certain that he will promote and expand the Book Fair, promote collaboration with international publishing houses, and generate broad international publicity for the world of Israeli literature.”
Avi (Aviezer) Pazner, son of the late Dr. Haim Pazner, a Jewish Agency representative during World War II who was involved in rescuing Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, immigrated to Israel with his family when he was 16. Pazner completed his studies at the Gymnasia High School in Jerusalem, and served in the Armored Corps until 1959.
In 1965 he began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a graduate of Political Science and Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He initially served in a number of diplomatic missions in Africa, until his appointment as spokesperson of the Israeli delegation to the Geneva Peace Conference in 1973-74. This was followed by a stint as advisor to the Israeli embassy in Washington during the years of the peace talks between Israel and Egypt, and in 1982-83 he served as spokesperson of the Israeli delegation to the peace talks with Lebanon.
Pazner served as spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and headed the Ministry’s press office between 1981-86, after which he was appointed as press advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, in this position he helped with the preparations for the Madrid Peace Conference. In 1991 he was appointed Israeli ambassador to Italy, and later served as non-resident ambassador to Albania and Malta. During this time he held a number of meetings with Pope John Paul II, and in fact opened the door to the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Vatican at the end of 1993. Between 1995-98 he served as Israeli ambassador to France, and on completion of this position was given the French Legion d’Honneur award by President Chirac.
In September 1998 Avi Pazner was elected World Chairman of Keren Hayesod – the United Jewish Appeal, a position that he held until September 2010. During his tenure he raised over $2 billion for funding Jewish Agency for Israel activities and for many projects in the fields of education, health and welfare in Israel.
As of 2000, Pazner has been one of the official spokespersons of the Israeli government, a position he held during the governments of Barak, Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu.
The Jerusalem International Book Fair is a special event, held biennially since 1963, which attracts over 600 publishing houses from 20 countries, who present over 100,000 books in different languages. The Fair is a unique combination of a commercial event to promote international ties between publishing houses, and a showcase for Israeli literary works. Authors, publishers, literary editors, agents, members of the media, and tens of thousands of visitors throng to the fair in Jerusalem.
During the Book Fair, the prestigious Jerusalem Prize is awarded to the writer whose writing best expresses the idea of the freedom of the individual in society. Other events and international conferences are also held during the Fair week, such as the international Editors and Agents Fellowship, with the participation of book editors and agents from some of the world’s largest publishing houses, a literary café at which there are meetings between Israeli writers and others from around the world, and more.