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Rutu Modan was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1966. After graduating from the distinguished Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, she began regularly writing and illustrating comic strips and stories for Israel’s leading daily newspapers, as well as co-editing the Israeli edition of Mad Magazine. With Yirmi Pinkus, she was a co-founder of the Actus Tragicus alternative comics collective in 1995. A widely published illustrator, Modan contributes to magazines and books around the world, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Le Monde, and many others. Two of her comics series have appeared in the New York Times: “Mixed Emotions” appeared as a monthly comics blog in 2007, and “The Murder of the Terminal Patient” appeared as a weekly serial in the New York Times Magazine in 2008.
Modan has frequently collaborated with the acclaimed Israeli writer Etgar Keret, and provided illustrations for his book Dad Runs away with the Circus (Candlewick Press, 2004). Her first graphic novel, Exit Wounds (Drawn & Quarterly, 2007), a haunting story about the unidentified victim of a suicide bombing, and two people who struggle to learn his identity, won the 2008 Will Eisner Award for best graphic novel of the year. This was followed by Jamilti (Drawn & Quarterly, 2008), a collection of her earlier graphic short stories. Her children’s picture book Maya at the Palace will be published by TOON Books in 2012, and she is currently at work on her next graphic novel, a comedy in which an elderly Israeli woman travels to Warsaw to reclaim her family's apartment, lost during WWII, while secretly hoping to meet the Polish lover of her youth.
Modan lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and two children.