[DWJ] New Introduction

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Thu Jan 1 04:54:09 EST 2009

I'll bite. I think I've sat out a couple of rounds, and I'm almost a
different person than I was the last time I participated in one of these
introductions. I've been with this list since it's inception - what was it,
a decade ago? At which point I was single, a student, dreaming of a career
as a theatre director and ekeing out a living doing various odd jobs as a
translator. Nowadays I am married, a mother of three(!), with quite a solid
career in publishing.

My name is Gili, prounouced with a hard G, as in giddy, not as in ginger.

I am 34 years old.

I live in Tel Aviv.

My closest list member is Esther, whom I've never met in person, though
someone else has once come up to me after a lecture and introduced herself
as knowing me from this list. Any other Israelis out there?

I first discovered DWJ when I was about seven and picked up "Charmed Life"
at the British Consulate Library. (Though there's a slight chance I may have
read "Wilkin's Tooth" before that and not realised it was the same author).
This would have been 1981, I suppose.

I work as an English to Hebrew translator, and the very first full-length
book I translated was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". This
little bit of serendipity has paved my way to a rather sweet career. I have
since translated all the Harry Potter books, several books by Jaqueline
Wilson and by Noel Streatfeild, Diana's "Howl's Moving Castle", annotated
editions of "The Wizard of Oz" (Michael Patrick Hearn's annotations) and
"Peter and Wendy" (my own annotations; this has not been published yet), and
several others. Recently I've been translating more picture books and books
for early readers, as these are projects I can take on and finish in a
matter of days and still find time to squeeze in a life. So far I've done
several books by Lauren Child, a couple of the "Mr. Gum" books by Andy
Stanton, and I'm trying to decide if I like the "Dertie Bertie" books by
David Roberts. The book I am currently translating is "Nim at Sea", the
sequel to "Nim's Island" by Wendy Orr.

In recent years I've ventured into publishing: I occasionally buy the
translation rights to certain books and then select other people to
translate them, for a small Israeli publishing house called Graff. So far
we've published "Sabriel" by Garth Nix, "Journey to the River Sea" by Eva
Ibbotson and the first two of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series
by Rick Riordan. Next in line is "Archer's Goon", which has waited a long
long time but - fingers crossed - should finally be out in February. To be
followed by "The Homeward Bounders", some more Percy Jackson books,
"Airborn" by Kenneth Oppel", "Fly by Night" by Francis Hardinge, the "Dragon
Keeper" trilogy by Carole Wilkinson, "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow...
not necessarily in that order. I'm very fortunate in that my business
partner at Graff has similar tastes to mine, and I like all the adult books
he's been publishing, too, including some that were recently recommended
here such as the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik and Guy Gavriel Kaye's

This list is very precious to me as a source of excellent reading
recommendations. I've discovered many, many authors through this list,
including many of those I am now publishing. I love that I am responsible
for introducing Hebrew readers to some of my favorite authors, including
DWJ. And I love my job, even though I'm losing money faster than I'm making

My eldest son will be seven next week, I wish I could get him hooked on DWJ
but he prefers non-fiction. My daughter is nearly six and is only just now
starting to read, my youngest son is approaching two and mostly likes
throwing books, unless they have pictures of tractors in them.


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