For First Time, Female Israeli Authors Outpaced Males in Publishing in 2021

Lihi Lapid, the wife of opposition leader and Chairman of Israel’s Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid, attends the funeral of Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan at the Habima Theatre in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on May 31, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images via

By Madeline Fixler

For the first time ever, female authors in Israel published more books of prose and poetry than men, the National Library of Israel said in its 2021 annual “Book Report.”

Each year ahead of Hebrew Book Week, the National Library of Israel announces statistics on the Israeli publishing industry based on entries to the library as a result of the Legal Deposit Law, which requires anyone in Israel who publishes more than 50 copies of a book to provide two copies to the library in Jerusalem.

Of the 7,344 books sent to the library in 2021, 25% are exclusively classified as prose and poetry. Just over half, 52%, were credited to female authors, giving them a majority for the first time since the library began collecting statistics.

Among the notable releases by women were “A Penguin Café at the Edge of the World,” a children’s story by author and poet Nurit Zarchi, recipient of the 2021 Israel Prize for literature, and “Strangers,” a bestselling novel by author Lihi Lapid, advocate and wife of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

The overall number of books published suggests a rebound for the Israeli publishing industry, with a 13.2% jump from the slump of 2020.

Approximately 92% of books published in Israel in 2021 were in Hebrew, with 4.8% in English, 2.2% in Arabic and a handful in Russian.


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