Mati Shemoelof

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Mati Shemoelof
KH-MATI-IMG 2097 - Copy.jpg
Occupation Writer
Nationality Israeli
Genres Horror, Science Fiction
Notable works Remnants of the Cursed Book

Mati Shemoelof (Hebrew: מתי שמואלוף‎‎, born July 11, 1972), is an Israeli author, poet, editor, journalist and activist. His first short story collection, "Remnants of the Cursed Book",[1] was published in 2015, and has won the 2015 award for Best Book of the Year of "Yekum Tarbut" website.[2]

Early life[edit]

Shemoelof was born and raised in Haifa, Israel. He now lives in Berlin.

Shemoelof received his BA degree from the Department of Theater at Tel Aviv University, and an MA degree in History from the University of Haifa. His MA thesis was titled, "The cultural and mythical meanings of the appearance of the character of Malcolm X in Spike Lee movie (1992)".[3] For this work, he received the Dean’s Prize of Excellence.[4] He was pursuing a PhD in Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and left in order to focus on his writing.[5]

He taught at Kedma High School in Jerusalem. He also taught creative writing at Ron Vardi Center for Gifted Children,[6] and was a lecturer of Israeli culture at Minshar College in Tel Aviv.[7]

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • 2015 - Best book of year prize on "Yekum Tarbut"
  • 2014 - Arab Jewish Texts—Conference, Chicago University[8]
  • 2014 - "Digital Roundtable" conference at Cornell University[9]
  • 2014 - Rabinovich Foundation Prize
  • 2014 - Contemporary Israeli Poetry from Berlin[10]
  • 2013 - Acum – Grant
  • 2012 - A Translation workshop - Literaturwerkstatt Berlin[11]
  • 2011 - Honorable mention at "Haaretz" Annual short story contest[12]
  • 2011 - Honorable mention at "Einat" Annual Science fiction short story contest[13]
  • 2006 - Best Poetry Book of the Year (Haifa Cultural Foundation)
  • 2010 - Rabinovich Foundation Prize
  • 2001 - "Best Debut Poetry Book of the Year" (National Art Trust of the National Lottery)

Literary work[edit]

Shemoelof writing is diverse and includes poetry, drama and prose. His works have won significant recognition and prizes.

Shemoelof has published Five poetry books: "The Scar Minimizer" (2001);[14] "Poetry Between Hazaz and Shemoelof" (2006);[15] "Why Don’t I write Israeli Love Songs" (2010);[16] "Appetite for Hunger" (2013),[17] and at last, "Last tango in Berlin" (2014).[18]

His next book will be published by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, the leading publishing company in Israel, with which he recently signed a publishing contract for a book of short stories, to be edited by Prof. Yigal Schwartz.

His works have been translated to six languages, and gained worldwide attention. A German translation of some of Shemoelof's literary pieces was done by Berlin's Literaturwerkstatt, which also invited him to Berlin to record him reading his poems on audio.[19] English translations of his works were published in major journals, such as Zeek,[20] Fusion,[21] and Arspolitica.[22] An Arabic translation of his works was recently published in several leading literary papers, including ones in Egypt[23] and in Lebanon.[24] Besides that, his works have been translated to Japanese[25] and Italian.[26]

Shemoelof was awarded several notable prizes for his works. Some notable ones are the prize for "Best Debut Poetry Book of the Year", awarded by the National Art Trust of the National Lottery, in 2001; the prize for "Best Poetry Book of the Year", awarded by the Haifa Cultural Foundation, in 2006; an Honorable Mention, awarded by the Israeli Haaretz magazine during its annual short story contest, in 2011;[27] Best poetry book of the year (Haifa Cultural Foundation 2006); and the highly appreciated Acum Prize for advocating literature in Israel, in 2013. Additionally, his play "What Has the Memorial Day Service Become" appeared in the Small-Bama festival at the University of Tel Aviv.

In addition, he co-edited several poetry anthologies: "Aduma" (Red: An Anthology of Class Poetry),[28] which had been sold in three editions since its first release in 2007; "Tehudot Zehut" (Echoing Identities) (2007),[29] an anthology addressing the issues of third generation Mizrahi Jews in Israel, in which Shemoelof's shory autobiographical story "The Icebergs of the Memory" was published; "La-Tzet!" (To Get Out!),[30] is a 2009 collection of visual art pieces and poems against the war in Gaza. "La-Tzet!" represents the ideological unification of the artistic and literary society in Israel, in revolt towards the complex political situation, and it was translated and published in both English and Arabic; "Al Tagidu BaGat", which was published in 2010 and explored the influence of the Palestinian Nakba on the Hebrew Poetry.[31] Shemoelof was also the editor of the Israeli literary journal HaKivun Mizrah (Eastward) between 2006 and 2008.

He also publishes regularly in Israel's leading media channels. He writes a weekly columns at Israel HaYom (Israel Today), Israel’s most popular daily newspaper, where he also posts literature reviews, and at Mako, The Internet news site of Keshet – Israel’s the most popular TV company.[32] Previously, he was a columnist at Ynet, Israel’s leading news website,[33] (Israel’s most popular news site), NRG -(Israel’s #3 news site) at Ma’ariv.,[34] and at Walla, Israel’s most popular portal. He also appeared on TV many times, for instance, as a panel member on Popolitika (public channel TV); The Owls (culture channel TV); Channel 10 News, and others.


Shemoelof is a political and social activist, and his writing depicts subjects which he promotes.

The political nature of Shemoelof's literary work is closely tied to his activist endeavors. One representation of that is his contribution, as a co-editor, to the "Ruh Jedida - A New Spirit" project, an open letter from Israeli descendants of the Arab Jews of the middle east and north africa, to their Muslim peers living in those very countries. The letter embodies the idea of promoting change through ״intra-regional and inter-religious dialog.״.[35]

Additionally, Shemoelof is a co-founder of "Culture Guerrilla", an Israeli movement which propagates poetry as an accessible art form, and promotes political causes by means of art performed in public. Despite the usually exclusive nature of poetry and poetry reading, the movement has achieved significant success in high-profile cases regarding contemporary economical and social events, reaching front headlines in Israel, along with several journalistic mentions abroad, the most notable of which was a New York Times article.[36] In 2013, the "Culture Guerrilla" publishers, under Shemoelof’s supervision, edited two editions of the new Mizrahi poetry collective named "Ars Poetics" that became one of the leading stages of the Mizrahi art scene in Israel.[37] Shemoelof is also the co-founder of the Israeli Poets Union.[38]

Shemoelof's voluntary work is very diverse. He was a founding member of the Haifa branch of the political info-shop, Salon Mazal.[39] He volunteered in Keshet, The Democratic Rainbow Organization,[40] as a researcher and spokesman for five years. He co-founded the multi-ethnical annual workshops in Tel Aviv for Ashkenazi and Mizrahi cultural movements at Beit Livik[41] House for Yiddish writers.[42] He contributed critical texts to several plastic art shows at the Museum of Tel Aviv for Arts[43] and at Bezalel Academy of Arts.[44]

Between 2006 and 2008, Shemoelof has been part of MiMizrach Shemesh, an organization devoted to the Jewish tradition of social responsibility.

Shemoleof has temporarily relocated to Berlin in September 2013. He considers it to be a political act, in order to rewrite the context of the Jewish national and creative revival. He sees the Israeli literary diapsora in Berlin as an endeavor to create an alternate narrative for the history of modern Jewish literature, which is usually exclusively entwined with the birthing of the state of Israel.



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  6. ^ צוות ההדרכה תשע"ג. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
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  14. ^ מגמד הצלקות – מתי שמואלוף. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  15. ^ שירה בין חזז ובין שמואלוף – מתי-שמואלוף. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  16. ^ למה אני לא כותב שירי אהבה ישראליים – מתי שמואלוף. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  17. ^ האסון מתחיל בארוחת עסקים – מתי שמואלוף. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  18. ^ פרידה בברלין – מתי שמואלוף. Retrieved on 2014-07-24.
  19. ^ Lyrikline 2012 Link
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  23. ^ מחאה ישראלית במצרים? – וואלה! תרבות. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  24. ^ The Leading ALG HAO on Site on the Net. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  25. ^ ディモナから、涙の半分 « המבוקש מס' 2. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  26. ^ Italian Festival of La Poesia Come
  27. ^ Haaretz. Retrieved on 2011-06-27.
  28. ^ ETGAR. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  29. ^ תהודות זהות. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  30. ^לצאת!
  31. ^ המבוקש מס' 2. (2009-12-29). Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  32. ^ מתי שמואלוף – טור אישי. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  33. ^,7340,L-3340,00.html?txtSearchString=שמואלוף&collarity_appid=ynet_articles&collarity_channel=&collarity_origin=8
  34. ^ מעריב nrg. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
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  36. ^ the New York times • Isabel Kirshner (25 August 2010). "A Test of Wills Over a Patch of Desert". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
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  40. ^ הקשת הדמוקרטית המזרחית. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  41. ^ אגודת סופרי ועיתונאי יידיש בישראל – Text on Homepage. (2013-01-29). Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  42. ^ ynet קוראים לי אורי ואני אשכנזי – יהדות. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
  43. ^ Alienated Past and Alienated Present: On the Engagement with Nightmarish Light retrieved 8.4.2013
  44. ^ Bezalel // Issue No. 4 - The Ides of April, Spring 2007 The Violence in the Constitution of the Origin Mati Shemoelof retrieved 8.4.2013
  45. ^,7340,L-4585106,00.html
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  51. ^ a b נהר הוצאת ספרים. Retrieved on 2013-03-30.
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