To Know the Other from Within

David Grossman, Maya Jaggi

25/02/2006 3:15 pm

In a mental climate such as this, the very act of writing a story or a poem – even if you’re not at that moment writing about “the situation” – instantly becomes a tiny act of protest, of defiance; an act of personal definition within a reality that threatens to wipe us out…

…When we write here we manage to experience the almost forgotten flexibility of a change of perspective; of looking at reality from somebody else’s eyes, sometimes even the eyes of our enemy”. David Grossman March, 2005

Internationally acclaimed writer David Grossman has stressed the urgency of ‘knowing the other from within’ in order to fight the clichés and prejudice rife within any conflict. The Israeli writer has made injustice one of his central themes, tirelessly calling for the end of the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Here he told us of the challenge of living on the fault line; writing tomorrow’s literary classics  whilst fighting today’s battles.

David Grossman

David Grossman is the bestselling author of numerous works, which have been translated into thirty-six languages. His most recent novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar, was awarded the International Man Booker Prize 2017, and shortlisted for the TLS Risa Domb/Porjes Prize 2019. Grossman is also the recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize. Image c. Peter-Andreas Hassiepen

Maya Jaggi

Maya Jaggi is a longstanding profile writer and critic for the Guardian Review, and also writes for Financial Times, the Independent, the Economist and Newsweek, and contributes to the BBC. She chairs the jury of this year’s Man Asian Literary Prize in Hong Kong, and has judged awards including the Orange Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen prize. Her award-winning cultural journalism and criticism gained her an honorary doctorate from The Open University in 2012.