Nurit Zarchi was born in 1941 in Jerusalem. Her father was an author (Israel Zarchi) and her mother a teacher. After her father’s death, when Zarchi was six, her mother moved with her to Kibbutz Geva. Zarchi was raised in the kibbutz as an outsider and during her military service she trained as a teacher. Later she returned to Jerusalem to study humanities at the Hebrew University. She has worked as a journalist and published essays about literature and art. Zarchi teaches creative writing to university students, as well as workshops for adults, and for young adults.
In Israel, Nurit Zarchi is famous as a writer of children's books, for which she has received every major literary prize over the years. Her children's books are characterized by their creative, inventive use of language, their humor, sometimes bordering on the grotesque, and the imaginary reality she creates to raise some well-known, often topical subject. In a sense, the latter also applies to her poetry. Nurit Zarchi's poems tell a story, or even a fairy tale, in strongly associative language with many layers. The emotional content of words and expressions makes up the outer layer, but underneath the readers find more. In her poems, too, she creates a world into which the readers have to delve more than once in order to perceive all the different meanings – of the words, the metaphors, the whole poem. It is a poetry that asks to be reread. Zarchi has received every major Israeli award for authors for young readers including the Bialik Prize (1999) and the Ze'ev Prize (four times). She has also received four IBBY Honor Citations and she was twice the winner of the Prime Minister's Prize for her literary work.
Books Published in Hebrew: Poetry and Fiction
Ha-ritzpa mitnadnedet (The Floor is Shaking; fiction). Yedioth Axaronoth, 2003.
Ha-tiqra 'afa (The Ceiling Flew Up; poetry). Helicon, 2001.
Misxaqey bdidut (Games of Loneliness; autobiographical novel). Yedioth Axaronoth, 1999.
Melon Hipnodrom (Hypnodrom Hotel; poetry). Tag / Helicon, 1998.
Mekhonit kmo orkhidea (A Car like an Orchid; stories). Yedioth Axaronoth, 1997.
Kfar ha-ruxot (Village of the Spirits; poetry). Zmora Bitan, 1994.
Oman ha-masekhot (The Mask Maker; stories). Zmora Bitan, 1993.
Gan ha-moax (The Garden of the Brain; poetry). Zmora Bitan, 1988.
Ha-dag (The Fish; poetry). Zmora Bitan, 1987.
Isha yalda isha (A Woman Begat a Woman; poetry). Sifriyat Po'alim, 1983.
Maxshavot meyuttarot shel gveret (Unnecessary Thoughts of a Lady; essays). Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1982.
Mata'ey bar (Wild Plantations; poetry). Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1974.
Yaroq, yaroq (Green, Green; poetry). Maxbarot Lesifrut, 1966.
Books in Translation
Don't Banish Nanny. Spanish: Madrid, Loguez, 1996. German: Bindlach, Loewes, 1993.
Tinturu, A Tiny Elephant. English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi: New Delhi, Star, 1996.
Wolfinea Momi Bloom. Spanish: Buenos Aires, Sudamericana, 1997.
They Got Her for Free. English: New Delhi, Vikas, forthcoming.
A Feel for Business. Italian: Verona, Mondadori, forthcoming. Spanish: Madrid, SM, 2002. French: Paris, L'ecôle des Loisirs, 1999.
A Tiger in Golden Pyjamas. Arabic: Haifa, Markaz Adabu l-Atfaali l-'Arabiy fi Isra'il, 2000.