Corinna Hasofferett (“hasofferett” means “woman writer” in Hebrew) is a fascinating, thoughtful, even playful Israeli writer of Hebrew literary fiction and nonfiction. Born in Romania, she has lived through more than most of us can even imagine, yet her humanity seems untarnished. Her work is translated on her site into Dutch, Romanian, French, Arabic and English. Her website offers an absorbing selection of her writing and philosophy.
Here is a bit of her bio:
- a recipient of the Yaddo and Ledig writer-in-residency fellowships and many other grants and awards. Her work has been published in such literary magazines and e-zines as Partisan Review, International Quarterly, Pen Israel Anthology, Archipelago, Jacket, Patchword, Masthead, etc. Two of her recent books, ‘Once She Was a Child’ and ‘Sodot’ (‘A Minyan of Lovers’) have been translated into English and are available for publication.
Born in the regional town of Tecuci, Romania.
Short childhood (three-four years).
Tile-roofs, spotted hens in the courtyard. A pleasure to discover an egg among the flowers, to punch a tiny hole and drink it on the spot, warm and fresh, and the egg-yolk soft. Once She Was A Child
That’s how they are preserved in memory. I sit in my house, outside the light of day and the light of night are mixed up as cards are shuffled, and I don’t notice it. I get up from the table only to feed Ronen, go to sleep so I can return from the dream and record every single word. A few people, a moment before oblivion covered them with a soft cape, gave me a saying as you give a fire that doesn’t go out. If I hadn’t come, would they have remained in the transparent air-ship of each one of them, and not crumbled away. Land of Mulberry and Cherries.
1941 Romania, as Germany’s ally, adopts the Nazi Race Laws. Father taken to slave labor. Grandfather taken as hostage, dies.
Unlike professor Ember, I considered my father’s deed an important one, a sort of “Here I am” call which in order to respond to a person comes into the world. Now I know that I was following my father in order to find the call for which I myself am here. My father did with all his might, and all his might was in words alone… Another Story
Our uncles, twenty, twenty-five years old, would come in in the evenings and dance ballroom dances with us, when we were three, four, five. Then they took them, and our father, all the Jewish men, to slave hard labor. They put them to work by the railway tracks. The German soldiers would pass by on the trains and shoot for fun, at them and at the Romanian guards. My uncle says that one of the prisoners would always lie with his ear on the tracks to hear if a train was approaching, so they could hide from the Germans in time, they and their guards. Once She Was A Child
12/47 Illegal Alyah on Pan Crescent, a small ship built to hold 450 people, yet crowded with 7,500 Holocaust survivors.
7/48 Legal Alyah to the newly founded Israel State.
When we were about to disembark from the ship that had brought us over from the detention camps in Cypress, a tall man came and picked me up in his arms — I was thin and small like an eight year old — and took me down the gangplank as far as the port, and said, “Don’t cry little girl, from now on everything will be well for you.” I didn’t understand what he was talking about, I had been so lucky. Pity was for others. On the other hand, if the past incited pity, you had to throw it away as fast as possible. Once She Was A Child
1975 During terrorist attacks in the Galilee, initiated and organized six months of biweekly meetings between Arab and Jewish youth leaders and artists (writers, composers, dramatists).
1991 Taught writing workshop at Ms. Conference, NYC.
1984-95 Founded and directed HILAI, The Israeli Center for the Creative Arts.
2002 Hebrew and English Literature B.A. studies at the Tel-Aviv University.
Awards and Honors:
1973 The Hebrew Writers Association Publication Prize.
1978 The Aricha Prize for “Revelation”
1979/95 The Institute for Translations of Heb. Lit. Translation grants.
1987 The New Israel Fund Wyner Prize.
1988 The Institute for a Better Israel Award.
1988 The Tel-Aviv Foundation for Arts & Culture Grant.
1989 The Hebrew Writers Publication Prize.
1994 Israel Foreign Ministry travel grant to Egypt.
1994 The Israeli Academic Center in Cairo Sponsorship.
1995 The Tel-Aviv Foundation for Arts & Culture Fellowship.
1996 The BCLA (British Comparative Literature Association) Publication Honor for ‘Revelation’.
1997 The Yaddo Artists Colony Fellowship.
1998 The Tel-Aviv Foundation for Arts & Culture Fellowship.
1998 The NY Ledig House Fellowship.
2000 The President of Israel Grant.
2001 The Eshkol Fund Grant.
2002 BI ARTS travel grant to Oxford, UK
Here she describes her first meeting with Ariel Sharon:
- On the evening preceding the 1973 Yom Kippur Eve, some relatives from South America came to tour Israel. Remember, a few days earlier Dayan, then Minister of Defense had declared, “Never before was Israel’s situation safer!” (Another reason why we feel so safe and trustful).
So on the night preceding the 1973 Yom Kippur Eve – a time when the weather is still unbearably hot – we came to pay our respects to our wealthy relatives, dressed in our best attire, which in my case consisted of a long dress with a great decollete.
So there we were at the palatial Hilton Tel-Aviv, waiting for the elevator. And very soon indeed the click and ring and light flashes signaled its arrival, the doors opened, and out comes, who if not Ariel Sharon himself. He was already quite large and hence impossible to ignore. I looked at his face to read what it says and indeed it spoke, actually his eyes alone, not to me but straight to the depths of my decollete. We had to take the elevator so there was no time to say, Hey, how about the depths of my spirit… The rest is his story.
Read her site for much more including a second meeting with Sharon. She currently has no books available in English.