Naama Barak
February 29, Updated March 6

If you’re a fan of literature, no matter the language, you’re probably familiar with Israeli powerhouses such as David Grossman and Amos Oz. But you’re probably less familiar with top contemporary Israeli authors, particularly women.

To expand your horizons, reading list and quality time with a good book, check out our recommendations below – all the authors are available online and in English. Have a great read!

Novelist Yochi Brandes. Photo by Iris Nesher via Wikimedia Commons
Novelist Yochi Brandes. Photo by Iris Nesher via Wikimedia Commons

1. Yochi Brandes

Yochi Brandes is one of the most popular authors in Israel, and for good reason. Her novels usually focus on women in major turning points for the Jewish people, from the times of the biblical kings all the way to the beginning of modern Zionism. 

An expert on Judaism and the Bible, her books are always meticulously researched, and the characters interesting, complex and original. We particularly recommend The Secret Book of Kings, which gives a critical feminist take on the most famous biblical royal family in an incredibly engaging way.

Writer Sarit Yishai-Levi. Photo: screenshot
Writer Sarit Yishai-Levi. Photo: screenshot

2. Sarit Yishai-Levi

Even if you have already watched the excellent hit series The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem on Netflix, the original book on the multigenerational, complex members of the Armoza family from Jerusalem is even more amazing. Sarit Yishai-Levi is the author behind the huge bestseller. Her more recent book, The Woman Beyond the Sea, a historical tale spanning the life stories of three women, a daughter, mother and grandmother, was published in English last winter. 

3. Ayelet Tsabari

8 of the best contemporary women fiction writers in Israel
Author Ayelet Tsabari. Photo: screenshot

Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel and lived and studied for many years in Canada before returning here. Luckily for English-speakers, she writes her books in English while still focusing on quintessential, perhaps lesser-known Israeli experiences, such as the personal journeys of Jews of Middle Eastern and North African heritage. 

Her two previous books, The Best Place on Earth and The Art of Leaving , were critically acclaimed, and she has another one planned to be released this September. 

4. Noa Yedlin

Author Noa Yedlin. Photo by Iris Nesher via Wikimedia Commons
Author Noa Yedlin. Photo by Iris Nesher via Wikimedia Commons

Noa Yedlin is an Israeli author and journalist whose most famous book, Stockholm, was turned into a successful TV show of the same name in Israel and then adapted for TV in numerous European countries. 

The book tells the story of a group of pensioners trying to hide the death of their friend days before he’s meant to receive the Nobel Prize. The TV show was beautifully performed by some of Israel’s finest veteran actors. 

While Yedlin’s had a whole range of great books published in Hebrew over the last decade, Stockholm is the one readily available in English. We can only hope that more translations are in the works. 

5. Lihi Lapid

Lihi Lapid at a protest against judicial reform in Tel Aviv, February 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90
Lihi Lapid at a protest against judicial reform in Tel Aviv, February 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90

For a short while, Lihi Lapid was the “first lady” of Israel when her husband, Yair Lapid, was prime minister for half of 2022. But aside from being a politician’s wife and advocate for Israelis with special needs, Lapid is an author and journalist whose writings are popular across the country. 

Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90

Woman of Valor, her previous bestseller on the enormous undertaking that’s motherhood, was translated into English in 2013. Fans can now look forward to brand new release in the form of On Her Own, scheduled for March this year.

6. Dorit Rabinyan

Dorit Rabinyan is famous across Israel for having her book banned by the Education Ministry a few years ago. The said book is a novel called All the Rivers, and it’s actually pretty amazing, both in Hebrew and English, telling the story of the love and heartbreak experienced by an Israeli woman and Palestinian man who met in New York. A great book for both the story itself and what the whole brouhaha can tell you about Israeli society. 

7. Ayelet Gundar Goshen

Writer Ayelet Gundar Goshen. Photo by Udoweier via Wikimedia Commons
Writer Ayelet Gundar Goshen. Photo by Udoweier via Wikimedia Commons

Ayelet Gundar Goshen is a critically acclaimed, bestselling author here in Israel, and all her four books are readily available online in English. 

Her first book, One Night, Markovitch, is an historical romance encompassing wartime Europe and the establishment of Israel. Her latest, Wolf Hunt, published last summer, is a thrilling examination of family, community, race and lies, as they manifest themselves in the story of an Israeli family living in Silicon Valley.

8. Yaari Shehori

Novelist Yaara Shehori. Photo by Taln333 via Wikimedia Commons
Novelist Yaara Shehori. Photo by Taln333 via Wikimedia Commons

Yaara Shehori is an author and editor at one of Israel’s biggest publishing houses, who’s written short stories, prose and poetry and five full-length books. In English, you can enjoy Aquarium, the unusual story of two deaf sisters growing up with their deaf parents, scorning the hearing world outside until a terrible secret is made known and the girls must learn how to tell their story anew. We also recommend her essay for the Jewish Book Council, describing her experience in the week following October 7. 

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