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Judith Katzir

KATZIR, JUDITH (1963– ), Israeli writer. Katzir was born in Haifa. She studied general literature and cinema at Tel Aviv University and began publishing her stories in the Israeli press in the 1980s. Her first book, Sogrim et ha-Yam ("Closing the Sea," 1992), a collection of four novellas, appeared in 1990. The opening story, "Schlafstunde," recounts the first love experience of the narrator and her cousin, and interweaves moments of sexual excitement with the story of death in the family. It is already in this novella that Katzir's rich language and powerful, sensual descriptions are evident. Another story, "Fellini's Shoes," tells of a hotel waitress who dreams of becoming a movie star with the help of a failed film director who apparently had once met Fellini. "Disneyel" is a moving monologue of a daughter to her unconscious mother, and "Closing the Sea" recounts a disillusioned friendship. Katzir's first novel, Le-Matisse Yesh et ha-Shemesh ba-Beten ("Matisse Has the Sun in his Belly," 1995), is the story of a passionate liaison between a young woman and an older man, ending when the woman emancipates herself and goes her own way. Three novellas make up Katzir's collection Migdalorim shel Yabasha ("Inland Lighthouses," 1999) and all three have in common the sense of resignation and the acceptance of a stable life in lieu of passionate intensity.

In her second novel, Hineh Ani Matḥilah ("Here I Begin," 2003), Katzir tells the story of Rivi, an imaginative and talented schoolgirl and her intense, erotic relationship with Michaela, her teacher of literature. The story oscillates between past experiences recorded by Rivi as a girl who is writing diary-letters to Anne Frank, and her new role as wife and mother, who nonetheless remains in touch with the teacher in New York. Friendship and physical attraction of women open a window on a subject rarely touched upon in Hebrew literature. Katzir also wrote books for children and a play about the writer Devorah *Baron. She occasionally taught courses in creative writing and worked as editor for Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House. All her books were bestsellers, and she received the Platinum and the Golden Book Prizes. In 1996 she was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for literature. Her books were translated into a number of languages (including German, Dutch, and French). "Schlafstunde" is included in G. Abramson (ed.), The Oxford Book of Hebrew Short Stories (1996). Further information concerning translations are available at the ITHL website at


H. Herzig, "Efsharuyot Aḥerot be-Sogrim et ha-Yam," in: Siman Keriah, 21 (1990), 293–299; R. Kritz, " J. Katzir, Bibliografiyah," in: Erev Rav (1990), 360–362; Y. Oren, "Azah mi-Mavet ha-Ahavah," in: Apiryon, 41 (1996), 21–33; S. Schifman, "Ha-Im Ani Nimḥet: Sippur ha-Ḥanikhah ha-Nashi ezẓel Z. Shalev ve-J. Katzir," in: Mikan, 2 (2001), 125–141; Y. Ben-Mordechai, "Kevod ha-Adam ve-Ḥeruto shel ha-Maḥazai: Al'Devorah Baron' shel J. Katzir," in: Bamah, 162 (2001), 5–11; M. Muchnik, "Sentence Length in two Novellas by Y. Katzir," in: Hebrew Studies, 43 (2002), 7–20; E. Adivi-Shoshan, in: Iton 77, 285 (2003), 20–25; E. Carandina, "Il sabra 'senza qualitá' in un racconto di Y. Katzir," in: Annali di Ca'Foscari, 43:3 (2004), 43–58.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.