Corinna Hasofferett

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Corinna Hasofferett
Corinna Hasofferett at Yaddo
Corinna Hasofferett at Yaddo
BornCorinna Bercu
(1935-09-22)22 September 1935
Tecuci, Romania
OccupationWriter, Novelist and Activist
Period1971 –
GenreNovel, short story, narrative nonfiction
SubjectProtest Literature
Literary movementModernism, postmodernism, women rights, Holocaust, War and Peace, childhood, stream of conscience, Children Literature.
Notable works
  • A Minyan of Lovers Hebrew: סודות
  • Once She Was a Child Hebrew: נופי הנפש
  • Unknown Territory Hebrew: בארץ לא ידעתי
  • Raising Hell Hebrew: הופכת עולמות
  • Looking for Miki Hebrew: מי ראה את מיקי
Notable awards
  • Aricha Prize (1979)
  • Tel-Aviv F. for Literature (1981/1998/1999/2000)
  • Everett Prize (1989)
  • BCLA British Comparative Literary Award (1994)
  • Havatzelet Prize (2007)
ChildrenErga Netz, Lilah Peled, Prof. Reviel Netz

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Corinna Hasofferett née Bercu; 22 September 1935  – is an Israeli novelist and writer of short story, narrative literary nonfiction and children lyrical prose.


Early life[edit]

Hasofferett was born Corinna Clara Bercu in Tecuci, Romania, on 22 September 1935, the daughter of Lazar Bercu and Dorina Bercu (née Brenner), 3rd generation law abiding Romanian Jewish citizens. In 1941 Romania, as one of the minor Axis powers, allied with Nazi Germany and adopted the Nuremberg Laws. Hasofferett's father was taken to slave labor while her grandfather was taken as hostage; mother and siblings were thrown out of their home, left to endure racist oppression conditions until King Michael's Coup and Romania's capitulation on 23 August 1946.[1]

On 25 December 1947, following the Holocaust tribulations and ensuing antisemitism, the family left Romania as clandestine emigrants on board the Pan Crescent ship [he]. The ship, built to accommodate 450 people was actually carrying 7,500 adults and children. It left the Varna port in Bulgaria, only to be intercepted by HMS Cardigan Bay (K630 (a frigate of the British Royal Navy).[2] on January 1st, 1948. Imprisoned in the Cyprus British camps [he] until 7 July 1948, at which time the family is freed to leave legally for the newly established State of Israel.

Education and Milestones[edit]

1942-1945 Tecuci, Romania. Primary Jewish school confiscated by the Fascist Government. School conducted at the Synagogue.

1946 5th class at the Romanian Lyceum, following the Liberation.

1947-48 Not enlisted, owing to prevailing racist threats. Some schooling at the Cyprus camps[3]

1948-50 7th and 8th classes at immigrant children school. Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, Israel.

1951 9th class at Tel-Aviv Evening High School for Working Youth. Saves money for Day School.

1952 10th class at Day High School.

1953-55 Works at Sifryat Hapoalim Publishing House, besides editor and poet Avraham Shlonsky.

1966-68 B.A., Hebrew & English Literature, Tel-Aviv University

Literary career[edit]

Corinna Hasofferett is an Israeli writer of Hebrew literary prose. With the publication of Sodot (A Minyan of Lovers), in a page long interview to [4] Haaretz weekly supplement| he|העיר, Corinna says in 2003: "I am aware that I have awaiting seven book manuscripts. With the rate of one book in thirty years, such as with Sodot (A Minyan of Lovers) I need two hundred additional years to complete them..."

Corinna's literary and activist work is informed by the childhood antisemitic tribulations as well as by the lyricism of the Romanian and Hebrew languages and their and Europe's literary heritage. Kafka, Tudor Arghezi, the Bible, Nature Landscapes, Mother, Father and the death of twin sister are major influences.

Discussing Sodot (A Minyan of Lovers), Noam Semel asks Corinna Hasofferett, "What is your homeland?"[5] Her immediate answer: "The Nuremberg trials."

Prizes and Awards[edit]

  • Aricha Prize 1979[6]
  • Tel-Aviv F. for Literature, 1981
  • Everett Prize at New Israel Foundation, 1989
  • BCLA British Comparative Literary Award, 1994
  • The Yaddo Residency Grant, 1996
  • The Ledig Travel and residency Grant, 1997
  • The Milay Residency Grant, 1999
  • The President of Israel Amos Grant 2000
  • Havatzelet Prize, 2007

Synopses of select books by Corinna Hasofferett[edit]

Corinna's novellas and eight books of prose present the Israeli reality through multi-vocal fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her work deals with moral and racial challenges via the literary prism.

  • Some Answer (1973). Two women in a shelter, during the Six-Day War. Anni, the protagonist, recalls chapters from her life in a monologue based on Martin Buber's rendition of a story from Hasidic masters in The Hidden Light: "asking for forgiveness for wrongdoings, one should go backward, up to asking forgiveness from his mother for burdening her breast.
  • A Minyan of Lovers (2002). Written in the course of thirty years: interlinked stories unveiling the richly complex and colorful facets of an extraordinary woman's life in complex Israel.With the exception of the novella Revelation [[7] - which gives voice to Sewar, an Israeli Palestinian young lady - the prism is mostly that of Israeli Jewish protagonists.

Revelation is the recipient of the 1979 Aricha First Prize, announced on January 5, 1979 Maariv newspaper, p. 44 [[8]

  • Once She Was a Child/Intimate Landscapes (2003) literary narrative nonfiction: conversations with international women-writers on the myth of childhood as paradise, interlaced within narrator's journal: Karen Alkalay-Gut, Niam elBaz, Marion Bloem, Anisah Darwish, Barbara Frishmuth, Venus Khoury-Gatta, Michelle Grangaud, Leena Lander, Dacia Maraini, Amelie Nothomb, Amina Said, Hanne Marie Svendson, Leila Sebbar, Svetlana Vasilenko,
  • Unknown Territory/A Polyphonic Novel (2006): in a vocal mosaic of love and grief stories, this narrative documentary based novel renders the first, formative decades of the State of Israel.
  • Raising Hell (2008) with cartoons by Jonatan Amitay [9]. Blog-book on Israeli social and political reality and the literary world.
  • Where’s Mikey (2008) Renewed edition. Corinna’s only book for children, first published in 1962. A little girl named Tali goes out to look for her lost doggie, Mikey, with the help of a magic cup. As she searches in the barnyard of the kibbutz and among her Bedouin friends across the road, she meets people, animals, and objects, a world of similarities and differences, until - with a wink toward Tolstoy – she finds where her treasure has been waiting for her all the time.

List of works in the Hebrew original[edit]