Atwood to share $1M Israeli prize

Canadian author Margaret Atwood and lndian-Bengali novelist Amitav Ghosh will share a $1 million US prize from Tel Aviv University.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood and lndian-Bengali novelist Amitav Ghosh have been awarded the Dan David Prize and will share the $1 million US award.

The prize is endowed by the Dan David Foundation out of Tel Aviv University and "recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms.

There are three $1 million prizes for past, present and future achievements awarded every year, with a rotating focus on the fields of sciences, arts, and humanities. Ten per cent of the prize is to be donated to graduate students.

The authors are winners in the "present" category.

The judges said Atwood's work "enabled, for the first time, the emergence of a defined Canadian identity, while exploring both national and transnational issues, such as colonization, feminism, structures of political power and oppression, and the violation and exploitation of nature.

"She is the creator of a wide range of original fiction in which realism, myth, and parable are skillfully united."

The 70-year-old author, who has written 13 novels as well as short story collections, poems and children's literature, has won the Governor General's Award twice as well as the Booker, among her many accolades.

Ghosh was praised for his fiction, which judges said "is distinguished equally by its precise, beautifully rendered depictions of characters and settings, and by its sweeping sense of history unfolding over generations against the backdrop of the violent dislocations of peoples and regimes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."

The award in the "past" category went to Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano for his "courage and intellectual integrity (that) have been crucial in healing the wounds of the Cold War in Europe, as well as the scars left in Italian politics and culture in the wake of fascism."

The "future" prize is shared by Prof. Leonard Kleinrock, known as a "father of the internet," Gordon E. Moore, who coined the "Moore's Law" computer term, and Prof. Michael O. Rabin, a prominent computer scientist.

The awards will be presented May 9.