Meir Shalev was born on July 29, 1948, in Nahalal, Israel. He is the son of Yitzhak Shalev, a poet, and Batia Shalev. He grew up on Nahalal, the first moshav (cooperative farming community) in Israel, where life was rustic and simple. Military leader Moshe Dayan had the only phone on Nahalal, and his daughter Yael remembers being sent by her father to tell Shalev's father that his son had been safely born. Shalev speaks warmly of his grandmother and her influence on his writing: "She was a temperamental woman, but she was a great storyteller," he says. "She was full of tales about the old days on the moshav." These stories became the setting for Shalev's groundbreaking first novel, The Blue Mountain.