Helen Zahavi

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Helen Zahavi (born 1966) is an English novelist and screenwriter born and educated in London. Her father was sent to Britain with the Polish Army during the Second World War and her mother's parents came from Odessa. Before becoming a writer Zahavi worked as a Russian translator, and has spent several years living in Paris.[1]

Her first novel, Dirty Weekend (1991), caused a media storm on publication, and critical reaction was extreme and polarised. A half-page article in The Sunday Times questioning the book's morality and the author's sanity set the tone for much of the press comment that followed.[2] The book was attacked by Salman Rushdie,[3] defended by Naomi Wolf,[4] and analysed at length in both the broadsheet and popular press.[5] Despite initial media hostility, the book went on to be a bestseller in the UK and Europe.[6]

Dirty Weekend has been translated into thirteen languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Czech and Korean. It was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award[7] and adapted into a film by Michael Winner, the director of Death Wish. Zahavi has a screen credit as co-writer[8] and appeared with Winner on an edition of the Channel 4 discussion programme After Dark alongside, among others, the father of the so-called Yorkshire Ripper.[9]

She has written three further novels, True Romance (1994) Donna and the Fatman (1998), and Brighton Boy (2013) which have been widely reviewed and translated.[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Dirty Weekend was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1991.[11]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Interview on German crime fiction site. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Woman makes killing on 'murder men' book", The Sunday Times, 10 February 1991.
  3. ^ "20-20 Vision", Salman Rushdie, Independent on Sunday, 17 January 1993.
  4. ^ "The animals speak", Naomi Wolf, New Statesman & Society, 12 April 1991.
  5. ^ Extracts from reviews of Dirty Weekend on author's website. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  6. ^ Bestseller list, The Sunday Times, 15 March 1992.
  7. ^ Front page, The Times, 30 October 1991.
  8. ^ IMDb page. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  9. ^ List_of_After_Dark_editions#Series_4
  10. ^ Some author-approved extracts from reviews of True Romance appear here: Retrieved 27 December 2012 and of Donna and the Fatman here: Retrieved 27 December 2012. Covers of English- and foreign-language editions of the author's books appear here: Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  11. ^ Front page, The Times, 30 October 1991.