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Moshe Sakal

Author

Profile

Born: 3.3.1976


Vita

Moshe Sakal was born in Tel-Aviv into a Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish Family. He is the author of six Hebrew novels. His latest novel, UNICORN, was published in 2020.

Sakal lived in Paris in his twenties. Since 2019 he lives in Berlin and has been working on his new novel. In 2020 Sakal has been a laureate of the Arbeitsstipendien für Literatur in nichtdeutscher Sprache für Berliner Autorinnen und Autoren, awarded by Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Moshe Sakal’s books deal with themes such as exile, immigration, diaspora, border-crossings, queer life and intergenerational relationships.

Sakal’s work has been acclaimed by NBC, Le Monde, and Haaretz. He was nominated twice for the prestigious Sapir Prize, and was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa, the Eshkol Prize for his work, and a Fulbright grant for participating in the International Writing Program in Iowa, USA.

Sakal’s novel THE DIAMOND SETTER was translated into English (Other Press, by Man Booker Prize winner, Jessica Cohen) and his novel YOLANDA was translated into French (Stock, translated by Valérie Zenatti).

6 Questions

What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?

I came to Berlin partly because of family reasons, but most of all because I was looking for a new place in which I would be able to create in peace and meet with interesting & diverse artists, intellectuals etc... I grew up in Tel Aviv and spent my 20's in Paris, then went back to my home town. In 2019, I felt again the urge to be a Wandering Jew and to go back living in Europe.


What do you love about Berlin?

I find Berlin a wonderful place for writers nowadys, as it is specious, very cosmopolitan, with a vibrant culture & literarary life, and - not less important - charming nature spots. Berlin allows artists to get insparation, to earn their living with honor, and to be acquainted with diverse and fascinating people.


What is your favorite spot in Berlin?

I love the Landwehrkanal, especially near Weichselplatz. During the first lockdown, this spot practiaclly saved me and gave me a lot of comfort.


Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?

In Berlin (and in Europe in general) I am - maybe paradocsically - the closest that I can be to myself, since I feel the best while surrounding by various cultures, languages, a real melting pot in which I can always feel a part of and at the same time a bit marginal. I find this state of tension between belonging and being different, the best for artists.


Which existing literary work do you wish you would have written?

W. G. Sebald's "Austerlitz" // "Sipur pashut" (A Simple Story) by the Hebrew writer, Nobel laureat, Shmuel Yosef Agnon // "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead", by Olga Tokarczuk

Work

Publications in original language

UNICORN

Zmora Bitan, 2020

THE DIAMOND SETTER

Keter, 2014

MY SISTER

Zmora Bitan, 2016

YOLANDA

Keter, 2011