New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier has been awarded the $1 million Dan David prize, Politico reported. Wieseltier, who was cited by the prize board as “a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with the central issues of our times,” will split the prize with French philosopher Michel Serres, who was called “one of the most important modern French philosophers.”
The Dan David Prize is considered one of Israel’s foremost awards and is given to individuals who have made “an outstanding contribution to humanity,” in the categories of “past, present and future.” The prize was founded in 2000 with a $100 million endowment by Romanian-born businessman Dan David and is administered by Tel Aviv University.
Other winners this year included historian Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, economist Esther Duflo and ophthalmologist and epidemiologist Alfred Sommer. Wieseltier and Serres shared the award in the “present” category.
“When Montale won the Nobel,” Wieseltier told The New York Times, referring to Italian poet Eugenio Montale, “a reporter called him that evening and asked how he felt. He said, ‘Less bad.’”