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That Is to Say

Sami Berdugo
A librarian takes time out from work and fetches his illiterate, Moroccan-born mother from the seniors` home where she lives. He locks her up in the derelict house where he spent his childhood in order, finally, to teach her to read and write in Hebrew after all these years in Israel. The week is also supposed to give the son some time to think-he is going through a sexual identity crisis and feels an outsider to society.
However, things do not work out as planned, because the old woman surprises her son with the tale of a young girl who was abandoned by her mother, shunted between relatives in Morocco and Algeria, and deprived of an education. The mother`s dramatic tale-her own, in fact-is told in broken but vibrant language, and the narrator is slowly captivated by the stubborn girl who managed to create a sense of self against all odds. This is an ambitious and moving novel on the conflict between an immigrant mother, widowed young, and her educated son. In the end, the mother`s story wins. She is revealed as a gifted storyteller and a strong, wise woman. The conflicted son, who sought to educate his dying mother, gets a chance to grow closer to her and learns a lesson that he will never forget.

Berdugo`s voice comes across loud and clear. A wonderful book.

The mother`s story has an Arabian Nights quality to it - utterly fascinating.

A powerful drama. The mother`s inarticulate style has extra­ordinary linguistic sensuality… Against the backdrop of the Jewish community`s life in Morocco, Berdugo tells a shrewd Dickensian story about orphanhood, wandering and loneliness.

A fascinating novel... Opens a door into a magical world.

Partial English translation available (for publishers only)

Berdugo That Is to Say
Title That Is to Say
Author’s Last Name Berdugo
Author's First Name Sami
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Siman Kriah, Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2010
No. Pages 322 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ze Ha-Dvarim
Representation Represented by ITHL


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The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
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The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop November 4th to 10th, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: November 4th 2018 until November 10th, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
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