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        Announcing 2020 Award Winners

        Toronto, Sept. 29, 2020 — The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards is honouring nine outstanding books for 2020. Now in its sixth year, the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards recognizes and rewards the finest Canadian writing on Jewish themes and subjects.

        Download the press release

        The Awards ceremony will be held online Oct. 25. Sign up for the newsletter to received complete instructions on how to view the ceremonies.

        Fiction Thought/Culture Biography
        History Children/Youth Yiddish
        Scholarship Poetry Holocaust

        Award Winners

        Award Winners 2020

        Fiction: Abraham Boyarsky for Through Shadows Slow (8th House Publishing)

        Jewish Thought and Culture Tanhum Yoreh for Waste Not: A Jewish Environmental Ethic (SUNY Press)

        Biography: Hernan Tesler-Mabé for Mahler¡¯s Forgotten Conductor: Heinz Unger and His Search for Jewish Meaning, 1895¨C1965 (Yale University Press)

        History: Derek Penslar for Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (Yale University Press)

        Children/Youth: Edeet Ravel for A Boy is Not a Bird (Groundwood Books)

        Yiddish: Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert, editors for How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (Restless Books)

        Scholarship: David Novak for Athens and Jerusalem: God, Humans, and Nature (University of Toronto Press

        Poetry: Elana Wolff for Swoon (Guernica Editions)

        Holocaust: Laurent Sagalovitsch for Le Temps des orphelins (Buchet/Chastel)

        Award Winners 2019

        Fiction: Jennifer Robson for The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding (HarperCollins)

        Memoir: Ayelet Tsabari for The Art of Leaving (Harper/Collins)

        Biography: Alexandra Popoff for Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century (Yale University Press)

        History: Matti Friedman for Spies of No Country: Behind Enemy Lines at the Birth of the Israeli Secret Service (Signal/McClelland & Stewart)

        Children/Youth: Anne Dublin for A Cage Without Bars (Second Story Press)

        Yiddish: Goldie Morgenthaler, translator, for Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays by Chava Rosenfarb (McGill-Queen's University Press)

        Scholarship: Michael Kater for Culture in Nazi Germany (Yale University Press)

        Holocaust: Leonard and Edith Ehrlich, Carl S. Ehrlich, editor for Choices Under Duress of the Holocaust: Benjamin Murmelstein and the Fate of Viennese Jewry Volume I: Vienna (Texas Tech University Press)

        Award Winners 2018

        Fiction: Natalie Morrill for The Ghost Keeper (HarperCollins Patrick Crean Editions)

        Memoir/Biography: Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz for To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen¡¯s Account of a War Criminal Trial (Second Story Press)

        Poetry: Rebecca Păpacaru for The Panic Room (Nightwood Editions)

        Yiddish: Seymour Mayne for In Your Words: Translations from the Yiddish and the Hebrew (Ronald P. Frye & Co)

        Scholarship: Daniel Kupfert Heller for Jabotinsky's Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism (Princeton University Press)

        History: Pierre Anctil for Histoire des Juifs du Québec (Les éditions du Boréal)

        Holocaust Literature: Max Wallace for In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust (Allen Lane/PenguinRandom House Canada)

        Children and Youth Fiction: Anne Renaud (author) and Richard Rudnicki (illustrator) for Fania¡¯s Heart (Second Story Press)

        Award Winners 2017

        Fiction: Gary Barwin, for Yiddish for Pirates (Vintage Canada).

        Holocaust Literature: Myrna Goldenberg, editor, for Before All Memory Is Lost: Women's Voices from the Holocaust (Azrieli Foundation)

        Memoir/Biography: Matti Friedman, for Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story (Signal/McClelland & Stewart).

        Children and Youth Fiction: Eva Wiseman, for Another Me (Tundra Books)

        Poetry: Stuart Ross, for A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak & Wynn)

        History: Roger Frie, for Not In My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust (Oxford University Press)

        Yiddish: Rachel Seelig, for Strangers in Berlin: Modern Jewish Literature Between East and West 1919-1933 (University of Michigan Press).

        Jewish Thought and Culture: Chantal Ringuet and G¨¦rard Rabinovitch, editors, for Les r¨¦volutions de Leonard Cohen (Presses de l'Universit¨¦ du Qu¨¦bec).

        Scholarship: Joel Hecker, for The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Vol 11 (Stanford University Press).

        Award Winners 2016

        Fiction: Sigal Samuel, for The Mystics of Mile End (Freehand Books).

        Holocaust Literature: Agata Tuszyńska, for A Family History of Fear (Knopf Canada)

        Memoir/Biography: Howard Akler, for Men of Action (Coach House Press).

        Children and Youth Fiction: Anne Dublin, for 44 Hours or Strike! (Second Story Press)

        History: Michael Marrus, for Lessons of the Holocaust (University of Toronto Press)

        Yiddish: Helen Mintz, translator, for Vilna, My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz (Syracuse University Press).

        Jewish Thought and Culture: Julia Creet, Sara R. Horowitz and Amira Bojadzija-Dan, editors, for H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy (Northwestern University Press).

        Scholarship: Sarah Phillips Casteel, for Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press).

        Award Winners 2015

        Novel: Nora Gold, for Fields of Exile (Dundurn Press).

        Scholarship: James A. Diamond, for Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (Cambridge University Press).

        Biography/Memoir: Alison Pick, for Between Gods: A Memoir (Doubleday Canada).

        History: Joseph Hodes, for From India to Israel: Identity, Immigration, and the Struggle for Religious Equality (McGill-Queen¡¯s University Press)

        Youth Literature: Suri Rosen, for Playing with Matches (ECW Press)

        Poetry: Robyn Sarah, for My Shoes Are Killing Me (Biblioasis).

        Holocaust Literature: Beverley Chalmers, for Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule (Grosvenor House)

        Short Fiction: Mireille Silcoff, for Chez l¡¯Arabe (House of Anansi).

        Yiddish: Ruth Panofsky, for The Collected Poems of Miriam Waddington: A Critical Edition (University of Ottawa Press).

        Our Mission

        The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards recognizes the finest books with Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors in a variety of genres. It enriches and promotes Canadian Jewish writing and culture, enabling us to better understand our collective past, our shared present, and the world of the future. The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards does more than reward winning authors with a cash prize and a moment in the spotlight. It builds pride, not only in the individuals being honoured, but in the creative achievements that reflect Jewish themes and ideas.


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        Jennifer Robson, Ayelet Tsabari among winners for 2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards CBC Books, Oct. 30, 2019
        University Of Lethbridge Professor Receives Canadian Jewish Literary Award Alberta Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2019
        2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards 49th Shelf, Recommended Reading 2019
        Anne Dublin will receive the Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Youth) 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries – Ontario Chapter
        Book about Her Majesty¡¯s wedding gown wins Jewish Canadian literary award Royal Central, Oct. 8, 2019
        Book about The Queen¡¯s wedding gown wins Canadian Jewish literary award Jewish News (Britain), Oct. 4, 2019
        Winners of the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Announced Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 3, 2019
        Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Handed Out in Toronto Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2018
        Canadian Jewish Literary Awards 2018 Winners The Canadian Children's Book Centre, Sept. 26, 2018
        2017 Winners Announced September 27, 2016
        Winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards Announced The Jewish Book Council, Jan. 11, 2017
        Montreal-Born Writer Wins Fiction Prize at Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 2, 2016
        Professor Tells a Different Story of Black-Jewish Relations Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 27, 2016
        Sigal Samuel among 2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Award winners Quill & Quire, September 29, 2016
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        Canadian Jewish Literary Awards announces winners October 21, 2015
        Jewish literary awards to go on despite Koffler hiatus May 12, 2015

        Jurors 2020

        Edward Trapunski: Chair, author of three books and winner of an ACTRA Award as best writer.

        Rona Arato: Award winning children's book author and author of 15 books.

        Miriam Borden: Doctoral student in Yiddish at the University of Toronto, an Oral History Fellow at the Yiddish Book Center, and exhibition curator.

        Alain Goldschläger: Director of the Holocaust Literature Research Institute and Professor of French at Western University, and former Chair of The NationaI Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.

        David Koffman: J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University

        Michael Posner: Award-winning author and playwright and former reporter for the Globe and Mail.

        Adam Sol: Author of four books of poetry and one book of essays, How a Poem Moves. He teaches at Victoria College, University of Toronto.

        Award Categories

        Fiction: novels and short story collections with Jewish content.

        Scholarship: books of original research that contribute to Jewish knowledge.

        Biography/Memoir: autobiography, personal memoir or family history The subject must have relevance to the Jewish experience.

        History: non-fiction works about the Jewish historical experience

        Youth Literature: books on a Jewish theme for children or young adults

        Poetry: books of verse including significant Jewish content.

        Holocaust Literature: books concerning the Holocaust including autobiographies, memoirs, academic studies, history and fiction.

        Jewish Thought & Culture: non-fiction works illuminating Jewish thinking, culture, and the Jewish experience.

        Yiddish: books in Yiddish or about Yiddish culture; translations from Yiddish (fiction or non-fiction) also considered.

        The Jury may choose award categories at its discretion, and may elect to forgo awarding a prize in any category if it determines that there is no prize-worthy publication in that category in a given year.

        What is a Jewish Book?

        Canadian Jewish Literary Award Juror Andrea Knight spoke at Tikkun Leil Shavout, May 19, 2018, at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre about what exactly makes a book Jewish

        CJL Awards chairman Edward Trapunski and juror Andrea Knight

        What I’ve learned — and I speak only for myself, not for the whole jury — is that is it possible for a Jewish author to bring a je ne sais quoi, what I would call a Jewish sensibility to her or his writing, regardless of the quantifiable Jewish content. It might be the rhythms of the language, a smattering of Yiddish or Yiddish syntax, a certain sense of humour.

        Download the speech.

        On Jewish writing

        Former Canadian Jewish Literary Award juror Sara Horowitz, professor of literature at Israel And Golda Koschitzky Centre For Jewish Studies At York University, delivered this speech at the Canadian Jewish News Prize for Young Writers awards ceremony, Feb. 10, 2016

        Download the speech.

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        Benefactors 2016

        Gerald Sheff and Shanitha Kachan Charitable Foundation

        Great Gulf Charitable Foundation

        The ShaRna Foundation

        Judith Ghert, in memory of her parents Frances and Samuel Stein

        Michael Ghert and Sarah Rosenfeld

        Tikkun 18 Foundation

        Supporters 2016

        Sol Hermolin

        Nora Gold

        Lony and Ruth Gropper

        Vivian Felsen

        Michael Hirsh and Kay Rosenfeld

        Penny Rubinoff

        First Narayever Congregation

        UJA Federation Committee for Yiddish

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