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Galit Dahan Carlibach

Galit Dahan Carlibach is an Israeli author and lecturer, born in Sderot and raised in Sderot, Ashdod, and Jerusalem. She grew up with her grandmother, a storyteller who immigrated to Israel from a small village in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. She now teaches creative writing at Bar Ilan University and guides literary tours in Jerusalem. Dahan Carlibach is the recipient of many awards, including the ACUM Devora Omer Award (2013) and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Hebrew Literary Works (2014). She was a fellow at the Fulbright International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2016), the Shanghai Writing Program (2017), and a women’s writer program in Alicante, Spain (2018). Her novel Alice’s Storm was longlisted for the Sapir Prize in 2017 and shortlisted for the Jacqueline Kahanoff Fiction Award in 2021. Her stories, essays, and poems have appeared in newspapers and literary magazines in Israel and around the world. Under the Sign of Orphan is her eighth book.

Title: Under the Sign of Orphan


Publisher: Achuzat Bayit

Year: 2023

258  pp.


Translation Rights: World

Audio visual rights: World

German rights sold (Kein und Aber, Zurich, forthcoming)

Translations: Partial English available.

Under the Sign of Orphan is about a redheaded girl and a mysterious crime. It tells the story of Avital Ohayon, an orphan with a love of books — particularly books about orphaned boys and girls. Avital was raised by hard-up and hard-hearted grandparents in Lifta, a quaint Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. She drifts through Jerusalem’s streets and its social margins and wanders from the lights of the city center through slums and unsavory jobs into an abbey in the Old City. Avital, a redhead whose beauty captivates men, searches constantly for the father she never knew. When a former Mossad agent, Ahituv Porat, suddenly takes her under his wing, Avital’s life seems about to change, and – just like in the stories she loves to read - she stands on the verge of discovering her father’s identity.


But life in Jerusalem in the early 2000s refuses to resemble a glittering myth. Despite the luxury and the security that Ahituv showers on Avital as she becomes part of his family, his motivations are mysterious and his reason for taking an interest in her remains a mystery. Ahituv’s family is powerful and established, the offspring of Israel’s heroes and titans: the kind of family Avital wishes she had. But the primal crime — linked to questions surrounding Avital’s birth and her mother — comes to the surface, changes the balance of power, and reveals the Porat family’s true face. Where will Avital’s destiny lead her next?


Avital is an unforgettable heroine. The tale of her life, from her birth to her emergence as a woman, reminds us of the famous orphans of classic literature. The plot swivels repeatedly: We worry for the heroine while also admiring her strength, and we hope that the unprincipled and hypocritical characters will be punished. Dahan Carlibach’s writing is bold, shifting between wild imagination and sharp cinematic insights into reality. Avital’s engrossing story sinks deep into our hearts; with each sentence we sense her pain. This is a suspenseful, heartbreaking, and romantic book that is impossible to put down.


Critical Praise


Orphanhood is a recurring theme in Galit Dahan Carlibach’s books. The fact that in this novel she again succeeds in saying something new about it proves that she is a gifted writer.

Tamar Mishmar, Yedioth Ahronoth


A novel full of twists, with a mystery at its center solved in unexpected fashion… Dahan Carlibach has written a riotous and unpredictable novel.

Omri Hertzog, Haaretz


A well-written novel with a truly brilliant, rich, and authentically portrayed world… highly recommended

Yaron Avituv, Makor Rishon


Her best book, starting 2023 with this book was an unsettling experience for me… a must-read, the writing is singular.

Shay Amit, Channel 14


It is such a pleasure to read a book so intricately made, where each particle connects to another in the bigger picture… add to that a suspenseful plot and you have Galit Dahan Carlibach’s new novel.

Maya Mizrahi, Epoch


It’s poignant, it’s gloriously beautiful, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Iris Ganor, Blogger

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