Israel is known for all kinds of things — a burgeoning local food scene, TV series like “Homeland” and “In Treatment,” and high tech companies like Waze. Now, with the launch of Granta Israel, a Hebrew edition of the prestigious magazine started by Cambridge University students in 1889, Israel is officially an international literary powerhouse.
According to the English press release for Granta Israel, set to launch at the International Writer’s Festival in Jerusalem, this literary magazine will “join the international Granta family which includes local versions of the magazine in Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Sweden, Norway and more. “
The magazine is published out of the unpretentious independent bookstore Sipur Pashut in the Neve Tzedek neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. It is the kind of place that editors and authors frequent, and which regularly hosts literary events.
Shira Levy one of the two editors of Granta Israel, with Mira Rashty, who does a regular segment on English language books on Tel Aviv 1 radio.
Levy seems to know the literary scene in the country as well as anyone. She told the Forward by email, “We believe that Granta in Israel will influence the local literary scene in a very positive way. Not only have we translated some fascinating pieces from Granta into Hebrew but we’ve also had interest from Granta Magazine in London and other international edition in translating pieces published in our first issue for readers to enjoy all around the world.”
The writers in Granta who are local Israelis include Shimon Adaf, Dror Burstein, Ona Coussin, Eli Eliyahu and Etgar Keret. Translated pieces include work by Nadine Gordimer, Roberto Bolano and Nicole Krauss.
Writer and Granta contributor Dror Burstein told the Forward by email, “I think that the concept of global literary community is wonderful.” He added that “if there is one good thing about globalism it is the possibility to easily cross cultural borders.”
Granta Israel is surely doing just that.