Agnon is a central figure in modern Hebrew fiction. He wrote many novels and short stories about major contemporary spiritual concerns. He won the Israel Prize for Literature in 1954 and 1958 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966, the first time that honor was given to a Hebrew writer.
Agnon was a devout Jew who spent much of his life in Israel. He was extremely dedicated to vegetarianism and wove vegetarian themes into many of his stories. His great sensitivity to all creatures is indicated in the following excerpt from his speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature:
Lest I slight any creature, I must also mention the domestic animals, the beasts, and the birds from whom I have learned. Job said long ago (35:11) "Who teacheth us more than than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?"
- Richard Schwartz