Aner Shalev was born at Kibbutz Kinneret in 1958. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received a PhD in pure mathematics in 1988. In 1992, after a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford, he joined the Einstein Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he is now full professor. He served as chairman of the Institute from 1999 to 2001. Shalev has lectured at universities around the world, including Princeton, Yale, Oxford, Paris, Chicago, London, Cambridge and Berkeley. He was a guest speaker at the International Congress of Mathematics in Berlin in 1998, and has lectured at a number of literary conferences.
He also writes political essays for the daily Haaretz. Shalev was awarded the Harry Harshon Prize for his first book of stories (1985).