About Evan Fallenberg
(Read a review of his new debut novel, Light Fell, here.)
Evan Fallenberg didn’t plan to make aliyah when he moved to Israel in 1985.
After a childhood spent in University Heights and Novelty, Ohio, Fallenberg attended Georgetown University’s School of Diplomacy/International Affairs. The idea of a life abroad seemed “glamorous” to him, so after graduation, he planned to use his excellent French to find work in Paris.
But first, he spent a year in Japan, where he found himself “feeling so foreign and strange” that he felt compelled to “connect to where I came from” n his Jewish roots, he told the CJN in a Dec. 2006 interview. He decided that before Paris, he would spend a year in Israel learning Hebrew and studying biblical texts.
That year has stretched into 20, and Fallenberg, who says he really “had no Hebrew” when he arrived, has become the English translator for some of Israel’s most admired novelists, including Meir Shalev, Batya Gur, Ron Leshem and Alon Hilu. His translation of Shalev’s A Pigeon and a Boy, a novel which won The Brenner Prize, Israel’s highest literary award, was published this past October.
Fallenberg attributes his “affinity for language” and his connection to Israel to his grandmother, Esther Gressel Fallenberg Mesnick, a fervent Zionist who passed away three years ago at age 96. Many of his Cleveland relatives now live in Israel, including his aunt Amy Sander and cousin, the writer Eve Horowitz Leibowitz. His uncle, Stanley B. Horowitz, was executive director of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland from 1975 to 1983 and CEO of UJA, the umbrella agency of all North American federations.
In addition to his work as a writer and translator, Fallenberg teaches creative writing. He has an MFA from Vermont College and is the father of two teenage sons.