His father was the renowned educator Dr. Moshe Kaniuk, one of the founders of the Givat Hamoreh children’s school and the first curator of the Tel Aviv Museum.
Kaniuk was educated in Tel Aviv, where he attended Tichon Hadash High School. He served in the Palmach during the War of Independence and was wounded in the battle of Jerusalem. After his recovery, Kaniuk studied art at Bezalel in Jerusalem and in Paris, later spending several years in the United States, where he worked at various occupations for his livelihood. Kaniuk wrote narrative-styled columns for various Israeli newspapers and was also a theater critic. His works were designated for adults and children alike: in 1979, he won the Ze’ev Award for his novel “The House Where Cockroaches Live to a Ripe Old Age”. Other accolades his work has won include the President’s Award (1998), the Bialik Literary Award (1999), the Brenner Award (1987), and the Prix de Droits del’Homme and Prix Mediterranee Etranger in France. His books have been translated into many languages.