Shalom Auslander awarded the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2013
Watch Auslander’s speech here.
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander (Picador)
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories)
Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz (Chatto and Windus)
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books)
The Road to the Apocalypse by Stanley and Munro Price (Notting Hill Editions)
On the Eve by Bernard Wasserstein (Profile Books)
Chair of the judging panel Diana Reich commented, “This year, the judges of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize had the task of winnowing 60 plus books of international fiction and non-fiction, with a Jewish dimension, to a short list of six. In the true spirit of Jewish disputation, both passionate and open minded, we reached a final outcome that is varied in genre, style and subject matter. The list contains short stories, an extended essay, novels and a work of scholarship. What they have in common is originality, a distinctive voice and an ability both to disturb and to entertain”.
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander
Shalom Auslander’s novel starts with an extraordinary premise – that Solomon Kugel, a beleaguered salesman, has moved to a small town in New York State only to discover that a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history (namely, Anne Frank) is hiding in his attic. With the infernal logic of this comic genius, we embark on an outrageous novel that is both “blisteringly funny” (Sunday Times) and “audaciously brilliant” (Sunday Telegraph).
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Swimming Home is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a single week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams. Deborah Levy’s writing combines linguistic virtuosity, technical brilliance and a strong sense of what it means to be alive. Swimming Home represents a new direction for a major writer. In this book, the wildness and the danger are all the more powerful for resting just beneath the surface. With its biting humour and immediate appeal, it wears its darkness lightly.
Scenes from a Village Life by Amos Oz
Hailed by The Times as ‘a powerfully bleak portrait of loneliness, confusion and cracked bonds’, Scenes from a Village Life gradually pieces together a community united by hidden fears and secrets. A stranger turns up at a man’s door to persuade him to evict his ageing mother and sell the house; nearby a couple sleep soundly in their bed, unaware that their teenage son has committed suicide beneath it. This is a compelling, hypnotic work in which Amos Oz peers into the darkness of our lives and offers a glimpse of what goes on below the surface of everyday existence.
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
The grand dame of American letters continues her preoccupation with the twentieth century Jew in this masterly, intricate novel. Set in the 1950s, Ozick turns the romanticising of Paris upon its head: American Bea Nightingale is sent to Paris to retrieve an errant nephew. Instead of the Paris of literary myth, she finds a shattered world peopled by survivors of World War Two. Based upon Henry James The Ambassadors, Ozick’s sixth novel is a literary sleight of hand and a tour de force in its own right. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2012, Foreign Bodies testifies to Ozick’s growing readership and recognition in the UK.
The Road to the Apocalypse by Stanley and Munro Price
In the winter of 1811 Lewis Way had an epiphany on the road to Exmouth. From that moment the eccentric millionaire devoted himself and his fortune to only one goal – the return of the Jews to the Holy Land. To achieve this mission he undertook extraordinary journeys as far as Moscow and Mount Lebanon. Lewis Way is now a neglected figure, but his legacy still has profound religious and political influence in the Middle East and today’s America.
On the Eve by Bernard Wasserstein
‘This is the portrait of a world on the eve of its destruction. Bernard Wasserstein presents a disturbing interpretation of the collapse of European Jewish civilization even before the Nazi onslaught. Wasserstein shows how the harsh realities of the age devastated the lives of communities and individuals. By 1939, the Jews faced an existential crisis that was as much the result of internal decay as of external attack. Ranging from Vilna (‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’) to Salonica with its Judeo-Español-speaking stevedores and singers, and beyond, the book’s focus is squarely on the Jews themselves rather than their persecutors. Wasserstein’s aim is to ‘breathe life into dry bones.’ Based on vast research, written with compassion and empathy, and enlivened by dry wit, On the Eve paints a vivid and shocking picture of the European Jews in their final hour.’
Diana Reich is the artistic director of the Charleston Festivals and the Small Wonder Short Story Festival. She has previously judged the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award. She is a former Director of English PEN, Administrator of the Orange Prize for Fiction and programmer of the Brighton literature festival.
Hephzibah Anderson is a book columnist for Bloomberg news and regularly contributes on cultural affairs to the Observer, Prospect and BBC Five Live. A former Fiction Editor at the Daily Mail, she has also written for publications including Vogue, The Times, and the Jewish Chronicle. She is the author of Chastened.
Clive Lawton has published extensively, mainly in the field of religious, moral and holocaust education. A former headmaster and teacher of English, he is involved in a senior capacity with many diverse Jewish charities and cultural organisations. He is on the faculty of the European Centre for Leadership Development and sits on the North London Bench.
Sam Leith is a former Literary Editor of the Daily Telegraph, and contributes regularly to the Evening Standard, Guardian, Spectator and Prospect. He is the author of two non-fiction books, Dead Pets and Sod’s Law and a novel, The Coincidence Engine. His latest book You Talkin’ To Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama is published by Profile Books.
NOTES TO EDITORs
The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize was established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate. The Harold Hyam Wingate charitable foundation is a private grant-giving institution, established over forty years ago. In addition to supporting the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize it has also organised and supported the Wingate scholarships. The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate prize is the only UK award to recognise writing by Jewish and non-Jewish writers that explore themes of Jewish concern in any of its myriad possible forms either explicitly or implicitly. From 2013, the prize will be awarded in February to enable the prize to coincide with Jewish Book Week, now housed at King’s Place, where it will be able to grow both in scale and outreach.
Authors resident in the UK, British Commonwealth, Europe and Israel are eligible for the prize. Books submitted must be in English, either originally or in translation.
The winner, who will receive £4000, will be revealed at an awards ceremony at Jewish Book Week in February, 2013. Previous winners include Amos Oz, David Grossman, Zadie Smith, Imre Kertesz, Oliver Sacks, WG Sebald.
For more information, please email Marion Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org