In the Author's Note to his internationally bestselling novel, "The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon", Richard Zimler described how he discovered a long-lost 16th-century manuscript in an Istanbul cellar written by a Portuguese kabbalist named Berekiah Zarco. More than 400 years later, Isaac Zarco becomes convinced by the pact between Hitler and Stalin - and other 'signs' - that an apocalyptic prophesy made by his ancestor is about to come terribly true. Is he mad to believe that by decoding these ancient kabbalistic texts he might be the one to save the world? Set in 1930s Berlin, during the Nazis' rise to power, "The Seventh Gate" brings together Sophie Riedesel, an intelligent, artistic, and sexually adventurous fourteen-year-old with Isaac Zarco and his friends, most of whom are Jews, ex-circus performers and underground activists. When a series of forced sterilizations, brutal murders and 'disappearings' to concentration camps decimates the group, Sophie must fight with all her ingenuity and guile to save all that she loves about Germany - at any cost. In its beautifully shaped portraits and in its chilling but sensuous evocation of Berlin in the 1930s, "The Seventh Gate" is at one and the same time a love story and tragedy - and a tale of ferocious heroism.
Richard Zimler was born in Roslyn Heights, a suburb of 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, mainly 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 eight novels over the last 15 years. In chronological order, they are: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Unholy Ghosts, The Angelic Darkness, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate and The Warsaw Anagrams. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists in 12 different countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil and Australia.
Richard has won numerous prizes 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. Hunting Midnight, The Search for Sana and The Seventh Gate have all been nominated for the International IMPAC Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world. He was also granted a 1994 U.S. National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
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.
A short film he wrote and acted in - The Slow Mirror - was awarded the Best Drama award at the 2010 New York Downtown Short Film Festival.
Richard also writes reviews for the L.A. Times. When he's not writing, he enjoys gardening at his weekend house in the north of Portugal.