Interview with Ofir Oz, The London Independent Story Prize 1st Quarter 2018 3rd Place Winner
Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I am a writer and a blogger; I live in Kibbutz Maabarot, Israel, with my wife, two amazing kids, a cat, and a little garden.
I work full time in the Internet marketing field, work full time in raising my sons and in ensuring enough sleeping hours for my beloved wife. I write every free minute I have.
My second novel was written mainly in trains, on my way to work and back. I had an almost two hour ride and no option to escape to the refrigerator or to Facebook, so I guess I should thank the Israeli train company.
At present, I am in the last stage of my third novel.
- How did you feel when you learned that you were longlisted for The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
I was very surprised to find that my story was chosen, because I actually forgot I had sent it…
This is the first time that I win a contest abroad, and of course the first time is always the sweetest (unless I win the Man Booker or Nobel Prize). Presently, I am seeking the right agent abroad, so this addition to my resume is wonderful.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I wrote my first “book” when I was 6 years old; it was a story about a group of young kids that escape their homes in Antarctica and experience all kinds of adventures, such as: fighting a bear, escaping from a prison placed in a ship, and so on…
“The First Name” (novel, Pardes, 2013)
“I’m Killing You” (novella and short stories, Traklin, 2007)
Literary Magazines Publications
“Criminal” (short story, Michigan Quarterly Review, 2016) LINK
“Criminal” (short story, nebesht.com in Farsi, 2015) LINK
“Oscar” (short story, Jewishfiction.net, 2014) LINK
Third place in the London Independent Story Prize for “Love”, February 2018 – LINK
Promising writers Award by the ministry of culture israel for “The First Name”, January 2015
Steimatzky Award for Best Short Story of the Year for “Criminal”, 2009
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
My two tips are related to writing of any length:
First, write every day, all the time. Writing is like being a brain surgeon: not only do you have to gently penetrate your characters’ brains, but also, in order to be a good brain surgeon, you need years and years of practice to become an expert.
You need that time in order to make as many mistakes as possible, and experience as many failures as you can. Fortunately, the victims of a writer’s mistakes are just old drafts.
Tip number two is simple: If you can’t resist writing a specific story that’s become stuck in your brain – it should be written. You just have to make sure you give it the time needed to evolve, and a good, relentless, critic’s eye to make it as best as it can become.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
A prosaic conversation that we overheard in the corridor of the hospital became the short story "Love." The story looks at a man’s expression of love for his aging mother, and his mother’s love for her worried son. While he fears for her health and becomes hysterical about it, the old mother's love is expressed by spending quality time, however brief, with her son. A time that, perhaps, in her daily routine she lacked very much.
This conversation reminded me somewhat of my relationship with my own parents.
The story "Love" was translated from Hebrew with sensitivity and precision by Ari Magal
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Sure! Communicating with LISP is easy and pleasant. Flash fiction enables you to write more stories and try to get published. I think it is a “Must try” for every emerging writer.