The Zbigniew Herbert Foundation has announced the laureate of the 2019 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award. The honour has gone to Israeli poet Agi Mishol, whose poems, in the words of Amos Oz, ‘can tell stories, sing and dance at the same time’.
Mishol, formerly Agnes Fried, was born in 1947 in Transylvania, Romania, to Hungarian-speaking Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust. At the beginning of the 1950s, the family moved to Israel. At home, they spoke Hungarian, and even though it was Mishol’s first language, she writes in Hebrew.
Her work touches on the political situation in Israel, the poet's family history, as well as the human condition, corporeality and sexuality. She has published several books of poetry and has won numerous awards, among others, the American Newman Prize, the Italian Lerici Pea Award, or the Israeli Yehuda Amichai Award.
This year’s laureate was chosen by an international jury composed of poets, essayists, translators and publishers: Yurii Andrukhovych (Ukraine), Edward Hirsch (USA), Michael Krüger (Germany), Mercedes Montana (Spain) and Tomasz Różycki (Poland).
The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is a distinction on the literary world stage primarily in the field of poetry. It has been given since 2013 in recognition of outstanding artistic and intellectual achievements, inspired by the values and ideals which Zbigniew Herbert’s work exemplifies.
Previous laureates of the award:
The award ceremony will be held on 15th May 2019 at the Polski Theatre in Warsaw.