AVIVA-Berlin: The title of the German-Israeli Literature Days in Berlin is "Fair enough? What is fair?" How do you relate to this title?
Mira MagĂ©n: The concept Â´fairÂ´ is not an absolute universal value. There is a huge variability among societies, in the perception of fairness due to different ethical and moral standards.
AVIVA-Berlin: Since many years you have been a member of the Israeli peace movement "Schalom Achschaw". Are you still politically active and do you also take part in the movements "Women Wage Peace" or "Women in Black"?
Mira MagĂ©n: I am still a member of Â´Shalom AchshavÂ´ movement, and ideology support those two women movements.
AVIVA-Berlin: In all your novels you create constellations which demonstrate how easily the everyday-life-order can collaps. You bring up questions which everyone who is facing calamities has to answer and the answer is a vital one. Is your main topic choice or the notion that everything in our life is fragile and can change dramatically in every given moment?
Mira MagĂ©n: In my work as a nurse in the hospital I saw how easily life might be changed. Since then life seem to me as an aggressive accidental event.
AVIVA-Berlin: What means the element of choice in fatalism for your figures and for you personally?
Mira MagĂ©n: I believe that there is free choice how to interpret the fatal experiences. Even if you canÂ´t change the reality you still free to find your own meaning.
AVIVA-Berlin: The protagonist of your latest novel "Achoto shel ha-Nagar" (german title: "Zuversicht") knows that she has to stop thinking about the catastrophe which ended the life of her most beloved. She thinks to rescue herself while looking for refuge in an old peopleÂ´s home. She is aware to provoke those who have suffered blows of fate. Do you â€“ as a writer â€“ love the ambivalence of your figures?
Mira MagĂ©n: Yes I do. People who have deep questions about life interest me much more than people who have axioms, who have no suspicious. I myself in my real life feel ambivalence toward many subjects.
AVIVA-Berlin: Talking about your upcoming reading and discussion at the German-Israeli Literature Days in Berlin. The topic is "Beautiful living" (panel: Wednesday, 11 April 2018, 7:30 pm. Deutsches Theater, Kammerspiele, SchumannstraĂźe 13a, 10117 Berlin): As rents in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are increasing, it becomes more and more difficult for people to make ends meet.
In 2011 and 2012 the "Social justice protests" (Mechaat Tzedek Hevrati) or "Tents protests" (Mechaat HaOhalim), initiated by the social activist, video artist, and editor Daphni Leef made thousands of people join the protests and establish tents in Rothschild Boulevard in the center of Tel Aviv. This led to a big awareness and discussions, but in the end the protestersÂ´ tents were confiscated by police forces. What is the situation today in Israel and what would be your advice to change housing politics in Israel?
Mira MagĂ©n: The social justice protest of 2011 was led by the educated Ashkenazi mid- class and unfortunately the lower classes and the periphery did not join it. That the reason that its impact was limited.
I think that we must build more public rental houses, under regulatory control.
AVIVA-Berlin: In our interview at AVIVA-Berlin (2010) we talked about Ethiopians as the underdogs in Israel. You said then: "Ethiopians in Israel who suffer a lot from the encounter with racism. (â€¦) But it will become better. Israel is a nation of newcomers. Every group becomes integrated when there arrives a new underdog. It has always been like that." Can you please tell us some more about the situation today?
Mira MagĂ©n: There are newcomers from the western countries but unfortunately the Ethiopians are still at the lowest sociological level. There is a light improvement but absolutely not enough.
AVIVA-Berlin: The original title of your book "Zuversicht", published at dtv in Germany, is "Achoto shel ha-Nagar", which means "The carpenterÂ´s sister". Please tell us a litte bit about this title.
Mira MagĂ©n: The protagonist has lost her husband and child, and also has no parents. She is no more wife, mother and daughter. Her brother is the only family member, so formally she is a sister.
Besides, I like very much hand workers, so being carpenterÂ´s sister, is a kind of honor.
AVIVA-Berlin: In 2018 "Michaela", your latest novel, has been published at Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan. It was not yet translated into german. What is your new book about?
Mira MagĂ©n: The protagonist is a homeless and alcoholic woman who stays at her sisterÂ´s house for ripening. This sister has well organized and bourgeois life. The book is about the complicated and conflictual relationships between the two sisters. Along the story, both sisters are changed and influences each other.
AVIVA-Berlin: Thank you very much and all the best for your work! We are looking forward to the translation of your next book and happily will publish a review at AVIVA-Berlin! Best regards, Sharon Adler
About Mira MagĂ©n
The writer Mira MagĂ©n was born in 1950 to an Orthodox Ashkenazy family in Kfar Saba (Israel). She studied psychology and sociology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She worked as a nurse at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, worked for several years at the National Insurance Institute and started writing short stories in the early 1990s. In 1994 she published her collection "well Buttoned-Upâ€ť followed by nine novels that won great successes. Magen wrote a number of bestselling novels and a book of short stories. She has been awarded the Olschwung Foundation Award (1988), the Book Publishers AssociationÂ´s Gold Book Prize five times (2001, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012) and a Selection of her novels and short stories were awarded the Prime MinisterÂ´s Prize (2005). Many of her books were translated into German and French.
In addition Mira MagĂ©n is a lecturer at many cultural forums. She is a member of the Israeli peace movement "Schalom Achschaw". Mira MagĂ©n is a mother of three children and lives in Jerusalem.
More info about Mira MagĂ©n at:
Lesung/ GesprĂ¤ch mit Mira MagĂ©n zu ihrem Roman "Zu blaue Augen"
Im Rahmen der Auftaktveranstaltung zu den "Deutsch-Israelischen Literaturtagen"
Organisiert vom Goethe-Institut und der Heinrich-BĂ¶ll-Stiftung.
Am Mittwoch, 11.04.2018 um 19:30 Uhr
Ort: Deutsches Theater | Kammerspiele
SchumannstraĂźe 13a, Berlin-Mitte
Mira MagĂ©n im GesprĂ¤ch mit Clemens Meyer zum Thema "SchĂ¶ner wohnen".
BegrĂĽĂźung: Dr. Ellen UeberschĂ¤r (Vorstand der Heinrich-BĂ¶ll-Stiftung) & Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (PrĂ¤sident des Goethe-Instituts)
Moderation: Shelly Kupferberg
Eintritt: 8 Euro/6 Euro erm./3 Euro (Sozialticket).
Mehr Infos: www.goethe.de/literaturtage und www.boell.de/literaturtage
Tickets ĂĽber: www.deutschestheater.de, Tel.: (030) 28441225 oder an der Abendkasse.
Read more about Mira MagĂ©n at AVIVA-Berlin:
Mira MagĂ©n â€“ Zuversicht
Mira MagĂ©ns Vorrat an Geschichten ist unerschĂ¶pflich und ihre Kunst als ErzĂ¤hlerin uneinholbar, wenn es darum geht, die FĂ¤higkeit des Menschen zu beschreiben, sich seiner KrĂ¤fte zu besinnen und immer weiter zu leben. In ihrem Roman "Zuversicht" sucht eine 39 Jahre alte Witwe Zuflucht im Altenheim. (2018)
Mira MagĂ©n - Zu blaue Augen
Erneut legt die renommierte, mit dem Preis des Premierministers 2005 ausgezeichnete israelische Schriftstellerin Mira MagĂ©n einen Roman vor, der sich dem Leben von Frauen widmet. Dieses mal geht es um die betagte Hannah und ihre drei TĂ¶chter, von denen keine den Erwartungen der israelischen Gesellschaft entspricht, Partner_in und Kinder zu haben und tĂ¤glich das Familienleben zu preisen. Drei Frauen leben schlicht vor sich hin, fast teilnahmslos an ihrer Umgebung und schĂ¤len sich langsam aus der Routine heraus, um das Leben neu anzupacken. (2017)
AVIVA-Interview with Mira MagĂ©n
The writer Mira MagĂ©n was born into an orthodox family in Kfar Saba (Israel) in the 1950s. Her biography shows a rebellious mind: she studied psychology and sociology, was a housewife and mother, had a new profession every five years â€“ teacher, secretary, nurse, and eventually a writer. MagĂ©n is amongst the most important writers of Israel. A Selection of her novels and short stories were awarded the Prize of the Prime Minister in 2005, among other prizes. Mira MagĂ©n lives in Jerusalem and is also a lecturer at Jerusalem University. AVIVA-Berlin met her in Berlin where she presented her latest novel. (2010)
Mira MagĂ©n - Wodka und Brot Ein angesehener Rechtsanwalt bricht seine Karriere ab und arbeitet als Fischer. Seine Frau gibt ihre hochbezahlte Arbeit in einer Bank auf, um im Laden ihrer Eltern Brot, Margarine und Oliven zu verkaufen. Mira MagĂ©n beschreibt den Untergang einer Familie und die verschlungenen Wege hin zu einer VersĂ¶hnung mit dem Leben. (2012)
Mira MagĂ©n - Die Zeit wird es zeigen Breiter gefĂ¤chert als in ihren frĂĽheren Romanen ist die ErzĂ¤hlperspektive im neuen Werk der hoch gelobten israelischen Schriftstellerin. Nicht nur Anna, die 13jĂ¤hrige Hauptfigur, lĂ¤sst MagĂ©n erzĂ¤hlen, sondern auch ihre Eltern Cheli und Mike, deren junger Angestellter Edisso und ihre Tante Sara kommen zur Sprache. (2010)
Mira MagĂ©n â€“ Als ihre Engel schliefen
Die israelische Schriftstellerin Mira MagĂ©n erzĂ¤hlt die Geschichte von Moria, die ihren Mann, ihre Familie und ihr Leben liebt, bis sie sich in einen StraĂźenmusiker verliebt. (2006)
Mira MagĂ©n â€“ SchlieĂźlich, Liebe
Wie kommt ein ĂĽberzeugter Single zu einem Kind? Zohara entscheidet sich fĂĽr eine Samenspende "auf natĂĽrlichem Wege" und fĂĽhrt ein eintĂ¶niges Leben als alleinerziehende Mutter. (2003)
Photo of Mira MagĂ©n: Tamir Lahav-Radlmesser