Biography

Photo by Nitzan Lotem 2015. All rights reserved. Photo by Nitzan Lotem 2015. All rights reserved.

N a v a   S e m e l

 

Award-winning Israeli and international author and playwright NAVA SEMEL has written twebty books of fiction, plays, scripts and opera libretti. Ms. Semel was born in Jaffa-Tel Aviv and has an MA in Art History from the Tel Aviv University. She has worked as a journalist, art critic, TV, radio and music producer.

 

Her works include:

Hat of Glass, the first Israeli book in prose to focus on the Second Generation - children of Holocaust survivors (published 1985; new edition 1998; translated into German, Italian and Romanian)

Becoming Gershona, winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the USA (1990); published by Viking Penguin; translated into Italian, German, Romanian, Dutch. Adapted for Israeli television.

Flying Lessons published by Simon & Schuster (1995); adapted for the Israeli television; translated into German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Serbian, Albanian and Chinese. An Opera version opened in 2009. (composer: Ella Milch-Sheriff).

 

Her acclaimed novel And the Rat Laughed was published in Israel in 2001 to rave reviews and great success. Germany 2007, Australia 2008, Italy 2012, Romania 2015. An Opera-Play composed by Ella Milch-Sheriff and produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, premiered in 2005 and ran for five years. Semel and Milch-Sheriff won the "Rosenblum Award" of the City of Tel Aviv. North American production, 2009 Toronto. A movie version is currently in the making.

 

Semel's her one-woman play The Child behind the Eyes, first produced in 1986, ran on the Israeli stage for 11 years. It has also been produced on radio by the BBC London, Radio France, Radio Belgium, Radio Spain, Radio Ireland, six radio stations in Germany, Radio Austria, and Radio Romania. It won the "Best Radio Drama" award in Austria 1996. On the stage it was performed in Rome (1990), New York (1991), Los Angeles (1996), Prague (1997), Sibiu Theatre Festival (2004), Resita Theatre in Romania (2005), State Theatre of Ankara, Turkey (2005), Lodz Theatre - Poland (2006), Bucharest Theatre (2007). A new production in Israel in Arabic opened in 2006. Recently produced in Amsterdam, (2012) and Alaska. (2016)

 

Semel's children's book Who Stole the Show? published in 1997, won the Illustrated Book of the Year Award (1998), and was cited at the "Ze'ev Award" (1999). Italy 2003. An English-Romanian bi-lingual edition, was published in Romania 2008.

A television series, based on the book was produced in 1999.

 

Other works of fiction include also Paper Bride (1996; Romania 2000. Germany 2003. Finalist of the YA German book award 2005, Australia 2012, Turekey 2016); Night Poems (2000) and The Courage to be Afraid (2005) - two collections of poetry for young readers on darkness and fears.

 

Nava Semel's 2005 novel IsraIsle had received rave reviews and its stage version opened in 2015. US publication: October 2016.

Her YA book Beginner's Love (2006) was published in Italy 2007, Czech Republic 2008, Germany 2010 and Slovakia 2011. Her biographical fiction Australian Wedding came out in Israel 2009 to rave reviews and became a best-seller. Her children's book The Backpack Fairy came out in 2011. Her novel Screwed on Backwards (2012), the story of a Jewish musician saved by his Christian lover in Italy under Nazi occupation, received rave reviews. Italy 2014.

Her latest Theatre works: The Bell Maiden (musical play for the entire family) 2012, Beit Lessin Theatre and the Mediatheque Youth Theatre.

Paper Bride, (musical), the Israeli Festival for New Musicals, Bat Yam 2013.

 

Her latest books: Hymn to the Bible (dramatic poetry, 2015) and Taking Wing, a Science fiction crossover, under the pen name Huan B. Landi (2016)

 

NAVA SEMEL won the Israeli Prime Minister's Award for Literature in 1996 and the Women Writers of the Mediterranean award in France 1994. She was awarded "Women of the Year in Literature of the City of Tel Aviv" in 2007.

She translates plays for the Israeli stage. Semel is a member of the Board of Directors of Massuah - the Institute for Holocaust Studies and served on the Board of Governors of Yad Vashem.

Ms. Semel is married with three children. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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