Israeli author Grossman appeals for peace as awarded prize

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One of Israel's best known authors, David Grossman, said Sunday his country would be without a "home and a future" until it finds peace, as he accepted the prestigious German Book Trade Peace Prize.

"Only peace will give Israel a home and a future. Only peace will allow us Israelis to feel something that has been totally unknown to us so far: the feeling of a stable existence," he said in a speech.

Grossman, 56, received his prize, which includes an endowment of 25,000 euros (30,000 dollars), at an awards ceremony during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Grossman's works -- which include "See Under: Love," which deals with the stories of children of Holocaust survivors, and "The Yellow Wind", observations on Arab-Israeli relations -- have been translated into several languages.

In his acceptance speech he expressed the hope "that my country, Israel, will find the strength to rewrite its history again. That it learns to grasp its past and its tragedies in a new way and to reinvent itself in a new way because of that."

The author joined with other writers in 2006 to demand a ceasefire in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

Only days later, his son was killed by a Hezbollah missile, an experience he described in his novel "To the End of the Land".

He recalled the tragedy of his son's death at Sunday's ceremony.

"I learned that there are some situations where the only freedom left us is to describe... describe with the right words the fate that hits us. Sometimes, that can also be a way to escape being a victim," he said.

The German Book Trade Peace Prize has been awarded each year since 1950. Some past winners include Turkish author Orham Pamuk, Hungarian Peter Esterhazy and Czech writer and former president Vaclav Havel. Two other Israelis, Teddy Kolek and Amos Oz, have also been honoured.

© 2010 AFP

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