Israeli author Amos Oz has been awarded the 2008 Heinrich Heine Prize, thus becoming the first Israeli in history to receive the prestigious honor.
Oz will officially receive the prize, a tribute to his many novels, during a ceremony scheduled to take place on the famous German poet's birthday, December 13. The ceremony will be held in Dusseldorf, Heine's home city. Presenting the award, worth over $65,000, will be former German President Richard von Weizsäcker.
Former winners of the award include Max Frisch, Wolf Bierman, and Peter Handke, whose award was later revoked due to his outspoken support of the dictator Slobodan Milošević.
Oz's novels have been translated into dozens of languages and he is considered the world's best-known Israeli author. His book "My Michael" was chosen by the German Bertelsmann publishing house as one of the most important books of the 20th century.
Other awards Oz has won include the Bialik Prize in 1986, the Israel Prize in 1998, and the Goethe Prize, considered second only to the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 2005. He has also been on the list of authors nominated for the Nobel for many years.
Oz's most recent novel is "Rhyming Life and Death", published in 2007. He is expected to publish another, currently undergoing its final editing stages, in 2009.