Grigorijus Kanovičius

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Grigory Kanovich (also Grigorijus Kanovičius) (born 1929) is one of the most prominent modern Jewish writers, winner of Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts for 2014.

Kanovich was born into a traditional Jewish family in the Lithuanian town of Jonava on June 18, 1929. At the age of twelve, with the outbreak of Second World War on the Eastern Front, Kanovich became a refugee, fleeing with his parents through Latvia to Russia, where the family spent the rest of the war. He returned to Lithuania after the war and settled in Vilnius, where he studied at Vilnius University.

In 1955 Kanovich launched his literary career, publishing a volume of verse, 'Good Morning', followed in 1960 by 'Spring Thunder'. However he soon turned his attention to prose and to writing for the stage and film. He wrote a number of successful screenplays including working on 'Ava Vita' with Vytautas Žalakevičius.

Kanovich has written more than ten novels – a virtual epic saga – dealing with the vicissitudes of the history of Eastern European Jewry from the 19th century to the present day. Among them: a novel trilogy Candles in the Wind, novels Fools’ Tears and Prayers, Smile Upon Us, Lord, A Kid for Two Pennies, There is No Paradise for Slaves, Don’t Turn your Face from Death, The Jewish Park, The Rustle of Fallen Trees, The Devil’s Spell and Shtetl Love Song which won Book of the Year in Lithuania.

His books have been translated into 13 languages, among them English, Lithuanian, German, Hebrew, French, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and others. More than 1.5 million copies of his books have been printed.

Grigory Kanovich is the recipient of the illustrious Medal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas and Grand Cross of Commander of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. He was declared a Citizen of Honor (2013) of his hometown Jonava. Between 1989 and 1993 Kanovich served as Chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania.

Since 1993 the writer has lived in Israel. He is a member of the PEN club in both Israel and Russia.

Kanovich is married and has two sons – Dmitry and Sergey. Most of his novels were edited by his wife Olga.

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