Howard Jacobson shortlisted for 'Jewish Booker' prize

By Jennifer Lipman, April 4, 2011
Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson

Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson has been nominated for British Jewry's top literary award.

Mr Jacobson's The Finkler Question is one of six books, both fiction and non-fiction, shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize.

Also in the running are Anthony Julius' study of antisemitism, Trials of the Diaspora, and To the End of the Land, David Grossman's novel about an Israeli mother dealing with her soldier son's death.

Mr Jacobson has won the award twice before. On being named the recipient in 2007 for Kalooki Nights, he joked: "All good books are essentially Jewish, so it follows that all book prizes must be Jewish."

Novelist Lisa Appignanesi, chair of the judging panel, noted that there were "four superb novels…a scintillating memoir, and an argumentative extravaganza that attacks its dark subject with zest" in the final list.

She said: "It must be a reflection of the excellence of the books to hand that our short-list judging meeting proved so exhilarating I wanted the discussion to go on and on.

"But all good voyages have their terminus. The list we arrived at with great consensual enthusiasm is a truly remarkable one."

Worth £4,000, the prize has been awarded since 1977, with past winners including Amos Oz and Zadie Smith.

Last year it was the subject of controversy after Shlomo Sands' book claiming that the idea Jews were descended from the ancient Israelites was a Zionist myth was shortlisted.

The winner will be announced on June 6 at a ceremony in London.

Last updated: 1:11pm, April 4 2011