Richard Zimler is a novelist whose works have been published in 23 languages and been bestsellers in 13 different countries, including the USA, UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Australia and Portugal.
Richard was born in in New York in 1956. After earning a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from Duke University (1977) and a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University (1982), he worked for eight years as a journalist in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1990, he moved to Porto, Portugal, where he taught journalism for sixteen years, first at the College of Journalism and later at the University of Porto.
Richard has published 11 novels over the last 22 years. His latest novel, The Gospel According to Lazarus, will be published in America and Great Britain in April of 2019. It was a Number 1 bestseller in Portugal and was chosen by the two main bookstore chains at the Book of the Year.
In chronological order, his works are: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Unholy Ghosts, The Angelic Darkness, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate. The Warsaw Anagrams, Teresa Island (in Portugal and Brazil only), The Night Watchman and The Gospel According to Lazarus.
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn and The Seventh Gate form the “Sephardic Cycle,” a group of inter-connected – but fully independent – novels about different branches and generations of a Portuguese Jewish family.
Five of his novels have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world. The novels are: The Night Watchman, Hunting Midnight, The Search for Sana, The Warsaw Anagrams and The Seventh Gate.
Richard has won numerous other honors for his work, including the Marquis de Ouro prize in 2010 - as Book of the Year in Portugal - for The Warsaw Anagrams. This prize is voted on by high school teachers and students. He also won the 2009 Alberto Benveniste prize in fiction for Guardian of the Dawn (for best Jewish-themed novel published in France), and the 1998 Herodotus Award, for The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (Best First Historical Novel). Additionally, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon was picked as 1998 Book of the Year by three British critics. Richard was also granted a 1994 U.S. National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
Zimler has written five children's books that have been published in Portuguese: Dança Quando Chegares ao Fim, Hugo e Eu e as Mangas de Marte, Se Eu Fosse, O Cão que Comia a Chuva and Maria e Danilo e o Mágico Perdido. O Cão que Comia a Chuva has illustrations by one of the most famous and well-respected Portuguese artists Julio Pomar. This book won the prize for Best Children's Book of 2018 from the Bissaya Barreto Foundation of Portugal.
In July 2017, the city of Porto awarded Zimler its highest distinction, the Medal of Honor. At the ceremony, Porto mayor Rui Moreira described the novelist as, "A citizen of Porto who was born far away, who makes Porto greater and grander... Zimler projects the city of Porto out into the world and brings the rest of the world to us."
A short film Zimler wrote and acted in - The Slow Mirror - was awarded the Best Drama award at the 2010 New York Downtown Short Film Festival.
When he isn't writing or publicizing his books, he enjoys gardening at his weekend house in the north of Portugal. He is married to Alexandre Quintanilha. They have lived together since 1978.
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