The Israeli writer Hila Blum lives and works in Amsterdam from April 14th until May 31th at the invitation of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Hila Blum (1969) is born in Jerusalem. In her youth she lived for two years in Hawaii, and in her early twenties she lived in Paris and New York, as well as in Israel. She began her professional career as a journalist, and for the past ten years has been an editor at Kinneret Zmora-Bitan, one of Israel’s leading publishing houses. Her first novel The Visit was published in 2011. Remarkably for a first novel, it made the best-sellers charts in Israel almost immediately upon its publication.
The Visit is a poignant, funny and sometimes painful portrait of a modern family welded together from parts of other families. It is a fraught habitat in which conflicting loyalties and half-truths live alongside love. It is also a glimpse into those cracks in our daily lives through which, whether by negligence or distraction, we sometimes let slip fateful choices and decision.
The Israeli writer Etgar Keret wrote on The Visit: “With a phenomenal control of language and an insightful consciousness that never ceases to challenge and to ponder, Blum needs no more than her first novel to convince us that a powerful and unique new author has entered the literary scene”.
During her stay in Amsterdam, Blum will work on her second novel. This book will tell the story of a an Israeli researcher, who visits Amsterdam in order to study the ‘bystander effect’: a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. Her hypothesis is that the the unique architecture of Amsterdam enhances interaction between inhabitants in houses and passers-by on the street. During her stay the researcher invites her sister, who is going through an personal crises, to come to Amsterdam. Their stay takes an unexpected turn when they learn more about the background of their Dutch landlord.
Hila Blum is a big fan of Dutch literature; she likes for example the work of Anna Enquist en and Arnon Grunberg and she studies Dutch language as well. During her stay in Amsterdam she will focus mainly on research for her second book.