Erez Biton (Hebrew: ארז ביטון; born 1942 in Oran, Algeria) is an Israeli poet of Algerian and Moroccan descent. He is the 2015 recipient of the Israel Prize for Hebrew Literature and Poetry, among other literary awards.
Early life and education
Born in North Africa, his family fled Algeria as refugees in 1948, and made Aliyah to Israel. He grew up in Lod. At the age of 10, he lost his vision and his left hand to a stray hand grenade that he found. The following year he went to school at Jerusalem's Institute for the Blind. He earned a B.A. in social work from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an M.A. in psychology at Bar-Ilan University.
Following his studies, Biton worked as a social worker in Ashkelon for seven years and as a psychologist in an outlying town. He worked as a journalist and published a weekly column in the Israeli mainstream daily Maariv. His first book, Mincha Marokait (Moroccan Gift), published in 1976, established him as the founding father of Mizrahi poetry in Israel.
- Mincha Maroka'it (Hebrew: מנחה מרוקאית) "Moroccan Gift," Eked, 1976
- Sefer Hana'na (Hebrew: ספר הנענע) "The Book of Mint," Eked, 1979
- Tsipor bein Yabashot (Hebrew: ציפור בין יבשות) "Intercontinental Bird", 1990
- Timbisert, Tsipor Maroka'it (Hebrew: תמביסרת, ציפור מרוקאית), "Timbisert, a Moroccan Bird", Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2009
- Nofim Khavushei Einayim (Hebrew: נופים חבושי עיניים) "Blindfolded Landscapes", Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2013
- Sulika (Hebrew: סוליקה) "Soulika", Snir, 2005
- (2015) Biton was awarded the Israel Prize for Literature, the first Mizrahi Jew to receive it. The prize committee described his poems as being "the epitome of courageous dealings, sensitive and deep with a wide range of personal and collective experiences centered around the pain of migration, planting roots in the country, and the reestablishment of the Mizrahi identity as an integral part of the overall Israeli portrait.”
- (2014) Bialik Prize for Lifetime Achievement
- (2014) Yehuda Amichai Prize
- (1988) Prime Minister's Prize
- (1982) Miriam Talpir Prize
Erez Biton is married to Rachel Calahorra Biton and the couple have two children.
- Benaim, Rachel (December 2015). "The Mizrahim Are Finding Their Voice". The Tower Magazine. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- "Erez Biton". The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Hever, Hannan (2012). ""We are the Fragments of Rhymes": The Poetry of Erez Biton between East and West". Journal of Levantine Studies. 2 (2).
- "First Mizrachi Winner of Israel Prize in Literature". 29 March 2015.
- Biography and bibliography at the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature
- The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself, 2003, ISBN 0-8143-2485-1
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