Author Shimon Adaf won Israel’s Sapir Prize last night. The prize, modelled after the British Booker Prize, is worth £30,000 and is considered Israel’s premier literary award. The winning novel, Mox Nox, tells the parallel stories of a boy coming of age in difficult upbringing, and of the man he had become, a young author, and his affair with an older woman. While seen predominantly as a realist novel, Mox Nox is filled with the fantastic – including flashes of alternate history, conspiracy theory, and the classical ghost story.
It is preceded by Adaf’s previous novel, Kfor, an overtly science fictional novel about a Tel Aviv 500 years in the future, and is followed on by Adaf’s latest, Undercities, which completes an enormously ambitious literary trilogy that mixes together many genres.
The son of Moroccan Jewish immigrants, Adaf grew up in the town of Sderot, some five kilometres from Gaza, but now lives in Tel Aviv.
As part of the prize, Adaf’s novel is set to be translated into Arabic and English.
Adaf’s earlier novel Sunburnt Faces is set to be published in English by PS Publishing in the UK.
Adaf, accepting the prize. “”It’s a little surprising, I didn’t prepare a speech but I did iron a shirt.”