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Meir Shalev
Meir Shalev, 2015
Meir Shalev, 2015
Born מאיר שלו
July 29, 1948 (1948-07-29) (age 72)
Nahalal, Israel
Language Hebrew
Nationality Israeli
Notable awards Bernstein Prize,
Brenner Prize

Meir Shalev (Hebrew: מאיר שלו; born 29 July 1948) is an Israeli writer and newspaper columnist for the daily Yedioth Ahronoth . Shalev's books have been translated into 26 languages.


Shalev was born in Nahalal, Israel. Later he lived in Jerusalem and at Ginosar with his family. He is the son of the Jerusalem poet Yitzhak Shalev. His cousin Zeruya Shalev is also a writer.

Shalev was drafted into the IDF in 1966, and did his military service in the Golani Brigade. He served as a soldier, a squad leader in the brigade's reconnaissance company. Shalev fought in The Six Day War, and a few months after the war was injured in a friendly fire incident.

He began his career by presenting ironic features on television and radio. He also moderated the program Erev Shabbat ("Friday night") on Israel channel one. His first novel, The Blue Mountain, was published in 1988.

Shalev also writes non-fiction, children's books and a weekly column in the weekend edition of Yediot Ahronot.

He currently lives in the Jezreel Valley.

Views and opinions

According to a January 2009 interview, Shalev identifies with the Israeli left and believes that the conflict with the Palestinians can be resolved by establishing two states for two peoples. However, he is disappointed with the extremism in the Palestinian camp, saying, "Radical Palestinians still say that the only solution would be for all Jews to pack their bags and return to where their grandparents came from. When there are no more Jews left in the Middle East, then the problem is solved, according to their logic. As long as they continue to think that way, there will be no peace. We are here and we are going to stay. Only after that fact is generally accepted can progress be made."

Awards and recognition

  • Bernstein Prize (original Hebrew novel category) (1989)
  • Brenner Prize (Israel) for A Pigeon and a Boy
  • National Jewish Book Award for A Pigeon and a Boy (2007)
  • Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, along with Michal Govrin, in 2018

Published works


  • 1988 The Blue Mountain (1988, originally published in Hebrew as Roman Rusi) English translation in 1991 by Hillel Halkin. Reprinted, 2010
  • 1991 Esau
  • 1994 As a Few Days, also called The Four Meals or The Loves of Judith
  • 1998 His House in the Desert (or "Alone in the Desert")
  • 2002 Fontanelle
  • 2006 A Pigeon and A Boy (originally published in Hebrew as Yona v'naar by Am Oved Publishers, Tel Aviv), translated by Evan Fallenberg, Random House, New York,
  • 2011 My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner
  • 2013 Two She-Bears


  • 1985 Bible Now, a book containing interpretations of Hebrew Bible stories from his personal point of view, which first appeared in the newspaper Haaretz.
  • Elements of Conjuration
  • 1995 Mainly About Love
  • 1998 My Jerusalem
  • 2008 In the Beginning: Firsts in the Bible
  • 2011 Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible's Intriguing Firsts (Nonfiction)
  • 2017 My Wild Garden

Children's books

  • 1982 Michael and the Monster of Jerusalem
  • 1987 Zohar's Dimples
  • 1988 My Father Always Embarrasses Me
  • 1990 Nehama the Louse
  • 1993 How the Neanderthal Inadvertently Invented Kebab
  • 1994 A flood, a snake and two arks
  • 1995 The Tractor in the Sandbox
  • 2000 Aunt Michal
  • 2004 A lion at night
  • 2004 Roni and Nomi and the Bear Yaacov
  • A Louise Named Thelma
  • A Lion in the Night
  • 2007 Uncle Aaron and his rain

Meir Shalev in duet with jazz guitarist Dekel Bor

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