Literary Arts was saddened to hear of the death of Ehud Havazelet on November 5th in Corvallis. Havazelet won the Oregon Book Award in fiction in 1999 for the short story collection Like Never Before and in 2008 for the novel Bearing the Body. He was also awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship in 1990 and 1994, and was a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. He had taught in the MFA program at the University of Oregon since 1999.
In 2008, the Oregon Book Award judge in fiction, A.M. Homes had this to say about Bearing the Body:
This is a work of fiction but in the best of ways the characters are real, they are not only walking among us—they are us—we are they and so it goes. What I admire most is the author’s willingness to stay with his character’s pain, he doesn’t attempt to will it away, to cure it, but simply allows the story to sit with it, to know it for all it’s depth, suffering, grief and out of that comes a kind of understanding and ultimately, perhaps, hope.
In an interview in Triquarterly in 2011, Havazlet described his approach to writing this way:
I absolutely believe you need to be at your desk at the same time every day, ready to work. And that’s hard, especially for beginning writers. You don’t get to decide your hours at your job, and if you have a family, you can’t tell them to wait. But if you expect to make any real progress, you need to be doing it at the same time daily. I would call it ritual as much as routine — preparation. If inspiration comes calling, you’re in receive mode.