photo of hila amit
Dr. Hila Amit is an award-winning author. She was born in Israel in 1985 to a Jewish family with Iranian-Syrian ethnic origins. She studied creative writing at the Tel -Aviv University and holds a PhD in the field of Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London. Hila Amit’s fiction appeared in Lilith, Jalta, Emrys Journal & The Washington Square Review. Her story, 'The Kinneret', was recently selected for the Sue Lile Inman Fiction Prize. She received fellowships from The Vermont Studio Center and the McDowell Colony. Her short stories collection, Moving On From Bliss (Tel-Aviv: Am Oved, 2016), was awarded the Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for Debut Authors, and was recently selected as one of the 10 best literary works in Hebrew for the years 2010-2020. Her non-fiction book, A Queer Way Out – The Politics of Queer Emigration from Israel (Albany: SUNY, 2018) was awarded the AMEWS (Association of Middle East Women's Studies) Book Award. In 2014 she established the International Hebrew School, through which she aims to advance Hebrew learning using a queer, feministic and pluralistic method. Her Hebrew learning book, Hebrew For All (עברית לכולן) was published in English and German. She is the co-founder of “Anu אנו نحن: Jews and Arabs Writing in Berlin”, and is curating literary events which bring together Jews and non-Jews with a Middle Eastern heritage together.

Non-Fiction

Dr. Amit’s fiction stems from the political context of Israel/Palestinian and her own experience as a Mizrahi (Arab-Jew) lesbian in Israel. Her fiction and her non-fiction work are based on her academic studies, as well as on her activist work in Israel and Palestine. The work was well-received critically and was warmly acclaimed by, among others, Amos Oz.

Publications in English

Queer Way Out – The politics of queer Israeli emigration (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2018)The very language of Zionism prizes the concept of immigration to Israel (aliyah, literally ascending) while stigmatizing emigration from Israel (yerida, descending). In A Queer Way Out, Hila Amit explores the as-yet-untold story of queer Israeli emigrants. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Berlin, London, and New York, she examines motivations for departure and feelings of unbelonging to the Israeli national collective. Amit shows that sexual orientation and left-wing political affiliation play significant roles in decisions to leave. Queer Israeli emigrants question national and heterosexual norms such as army service, monogamy, and reproduction. Amit argues that emigration itself is not only a political act, but one that pioneers a deliberately unheroic form of resistance to Zionist ideology. This fascinating study enriches our understandings of migration, political activism, and queer forms of living in Israel and beyond.

Winner of the 2019 AMEWS Book Award

Israel, Zionism and the Emigration Anxiety: The case of Israeli AcademiaRutledge, Settler Colonial Studies, volume 9, 2019, issue 1 : Settles and Citizens: A critical view of Israeli Society

Publications in Hebrew

Events

Jüdische Woche, Dresden
The Culture of the Arab-Jews : Lyrik ohne Grenzen, 1.11.2019

ערב השקה לספר "מאושרי והלאה"
תולעת ספרים, תל אביב, 20.11.2016

Donau115, Berlin
Asylum: Words & Sounds, 26.8.2019

ערב השקה לספר "מאושרי והלאה"
ברלין, 1.12.2016

Israeli Book Club, B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue, Manhattan, NYC
A talk about “Moving on from Bliss”, 1.6.2019

Weak Resistance 2
Precarity, Diasporas, Movements Lecture, ICI – Berlin, 8.7.2016

European Association for Israeli Studies [EAIS], University of Cagliari, Sardinia:
Israelis in the diaspora (September 2015)

Association for Israeli Studies (AIS), Ben-Gurion University:
Leadership in ./Distress – Zionism and the emigration anxiety (June 2014)

Queer Tangentially Workshop, London School of Economics:
Queer temporalities and the Zionist temporal regime (May 2014)

השקת הספר – אוניברסיטת תל אביב
20.12.2018

2nd Annual International Feminist Journal of Politics Conference, University of Sussex:
Queer Activism in Israel-Palestine (May 2013)

ערב השקה – "אישה לאישה" מרכז נשים פמיניסטי, חיפה
18.8.2018

Queer History conference, Queen Mary University, London:
When there is No Past and the Future is Unseen – Palestinian Lesbian Activism (November 2012)

'Mind the Gap': Queer studies and activism conference, Hebrew University, Jerusalem:
Queer theory and temporality – Contemporary activism among Palestinian lesbians (June 2012)

The Ontology of the Couple
Symposium, ICI- Berlin 9 -10 Jun 2016

'A different Sex': Israel's annual queer studies conference, Tel-Aviv University:
Free Radicals: Lesbians, Motherhood and Choice (June 2012)

Diaspora and its Others
Narratives, Nomads, and Impossibilities Conference, ICI Berlin 26 -27 Mar 2015

Israeli Belongings
Workshop, SOAS, University of London: (May 2015) Jointly organized with Dr. Sonia Zafer-Smith.

The 8th European Feminist Research Conference, Central European University, Budapest:
Non-Natalism in the Palestinian Community in Israel: Lesbians, Motherhood and Choice (May 2012)

The 10th Annual Palestinian Conference, SOAS, University of London:
Israel’s problematic relationship with the Jewish-Israeli Diaspora (October 2015)

Hebrew Teaching

Dr. Amit’s approach to the teaching of a language is based on feminist and queer perspectives, which reflect both the topics being studied, the presentation of the material and the vocabulary being taught. In 2014 she has established the International Hebrew School. Click here to read testimonials from the school's students.
Hebrew For All - The first queer feminist Hebrew learning book, forthcoming in 2020 in English and German.
hebrew book german
hebrew book hebrew

Press

Vigorously written, with a delicate and precise hand and a rare combination of wit and compassion.

Author Amos Oz

The main strength of the book is the ability to undermine stigmas and prejudices and to undo the process of marking people as “the other.” Amit writes differently about “different” people … Amit’s prose is endowed with restraint, quietness, empathy, much delicacy and a minimalist style … The last story in the book is the loveliest, most complete and most melancholic in the collection … Moving on from Bliss is characterized by a unique and beautiful voice … by the courage to write political-social literature without compromise or fawning, by a humanistic methodology.

Vered Lee, Haaretz

The trials faced by the characters are serious, and gradually become more serious as the book unfolds. At times, good literature is literature that focuses on critical decisions … It’s been years since I read a book that has a title that is so intriguing, so different … For Hila Amit, to move on from bliss means emptiness and loss. But, for her moving on from bliss also means nobility

Nissim Calderon, Odot

In order to explain the satisfaction this short book elicits; the pleasantly tearful throbs that occur at a frequency of once or twice during almost all of the stories that it contains; the response of a number of characters on the brink of despair and grief to Hila Amit’s firm but not aggressive treatment – in order to explain all of these, one must go back to the misleading first impression given by the encounter with her first book Moving on from Bliss ... Unlike the masochistic, traumatized approach that has gradually become the trademark of Israeli literature … Amit finds different ways, some of them simple and very effective, to rein in tragedy and the cheap handling of heartache … Nothing here is bombastic or self-satisfied. The characters themselves control the situations, playing gently with the permissible and the forbidden … An empathetic, measured connection is created between the reader and the stories

Yoni Livneh, Yedioth Ahronoth

It’s been ages since I read such a good and promising first book … Like in real literature, the stylistic implement is suited to the author’s goals … I do not have words of my own to describe the delicacy, and the richness, and the beauty.

Nissim Calderon, Walla

It’s been ages since I read such a good and promising first book … Like in real literature, the stylistic implement is suited to the author’s goals … I do not have words of my own to describe the delicacy, and the richness, and the beauty.

Nissim Calderon, Walla

A lovely collection … Gentle, sensitive prose about life.

Karin Michaeli, At

גיבורי הספר הזה הם מי שההגמוניה הישראלית סימנה כ"אחר", ויופיו טמון בכך שהוא לא מניף דגלים, אלא חותר תחת הדעות הקדומות בכוחה של האנושיות

קובץ הסיפורים של הילה עמית הוא מצרך נדיר בספרות העברית.

בספרה הראשון ברור שהסופרת הילה עמית לא מעוניינת לערפל. היא לא מעוניינת להכות מסביב לצמח. היא הולכת בעברית הישירה ביותר אל לב הצמח, אל לב ההחלטה. והחלטות הן בדיוק הדבר המרכזי בספר הנהדר הזה.

ספרים מומלצים שיעבירו לך את הקיץ לאט ובטוח.

Interviews

Israel's gay exodus?
Aljazeera, the Stream, interview, 17.6.2014

DLF Kultur, radio broadcast 'Lesart', Interview, 6.9.2019

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