Since 1963 the Jerusalem Prize is awarded biennially, as an integral part of the JIBF, to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of “freedom of the individual in society.” Some of the authors who were awarded the Jerusalem Prize later received Nobel Prize for Literature, among them – Bertrand Russell , Octavio Paz, V. S. Naipaul, Mario Vargas Llosa and J. M. Coetzee.
Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the next Jerusalem Prize will be awarded in May 2022 (during the next physical reiteration of the JIBF). The winner will be announced on May 3, 2021, during the opening session of the 2021 digital Forum.
The 2019 Jerusalem Prize Winner:
American Author Joyce Carol Oates
The 2019 Jerusalem Prize was awarded to critically acclaimed American Author Joyce Carol Oates. Oates received the prize from the Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, at the joint opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Book Forum and the International Writers Festival of Mishkenot Sha’ananim (May 12, 2019).
From the Jury’s decision:
“With a deep and profound psychological understanding, she confronts her heroes – as well as her readers – with the ways in which people deal with internal or external demons, and their struggle defines the boundaries of the human condition. But throughout this confrontation, even in its wildest manifestations, a constant line of grace and compassion is discernible.”
Joyce carol Oates:
“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this distinguished international literary award made to writers whose work deals with the freedom of the individual in society. In a world in which individual freedoms are under assault, the autonomy of the individual and the role of art in our lives is of great concern.”
Members of the jury for the 2019 Prize were Dr. Tamar Hess (chairperson), Dr. Omri Herzog and Prof. Shimon Adaf.
Photo by Dustin Cohen