Sami Michael was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1926. At age 15, he joined a leftist underground movement acting against the regime in Iraq. In 1948, his activities were discovered and he fled to Iran, making his way to Israel a year later. After working for four years as an editor at Arabic-language dailies, he studied hydrology at the British Institute and joined the Israel Hydrology Authority where he worked for 25 years. During this time, he also studied psychology and Arabic literature at Haifa University. Michael published his first novel in 1974. To date, he has written six novels, four books for youth, and three non-fiction books. He has received many literary awards, including the WIZO Prize (Paris), the ACUM Prize, the Brenner Prize, the Ze`ev Prize for children`s literature, an IBBY Award (Berlin), the Israeli Literature Prize and the President`s Prize. For his work for peace, he has been honored by the UN-supported Society for International Development, and the Association for Promotion of Peace in the Middle East (Italy). He has also been awarded honorary doctorates by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2000) and Tel Aviv University (2002) for his literary work and contribution to inter-communal reconciliation. Since 2001, Michael has been the president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Winner of EMET PRIZE 2006
Taken by Kobi Kalmanovitz for the: 2007 EMET PRIZE on Wednesday 29.08.2007 in his flat in Haifa.