Orly Castel-Bloom

Orly Castel-Bloom was born in north Tel Aviv in 1960, to a family of Egyptian Jews. Her mother worked in a bank and her father was an accountant for the airline El Al. Until the age of three, she had French nannies and spoke only French. She studied film at Tel Aviv University and theater at the Beit Zvi School for the Performing Arts in Ramat Gan. Castel-Bloom lives in Tel Aviv and has two children.

Castel-Bloom’s first collection of short stories, Not Far from the Center of Town (Lo Rahok mi-Merkhaz ha-Ir), was published in 1987 by Am Oved. She is the author of 11 books, including collections of short fiction and novels. Her 1992 novel Dolly City, has been included in the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, and in 1999 she was named one of the fifty most influential women in Israel. Dolly City has been performed as a play in Tel Aviv.

In Free Radicals (Radikalim Hofshiyim) published in 2002, Castel-Bloom stopped writing in the first-person. In Human Parts (Halakim Enoshiyim) published by Godine in 2002, she was the first Israeli novelist to address the subject of Palestinian suicide bombings. Her anthology of short stories You Don’t Argue with Rice, was published in 2003. Castel-Bloom has won the Prime Minister’s award twice, the Tel Aviv award for fiction and was nominated for the Sapir Prize for Literature.

Israeli literary critic Gershon Shaked called her a postmodern writer who “communicates the despair of a generation which no longer even dreams the dreams of Zionist history.”