Five authors shortlisted for JQ-Wingate Prize

Howard Jacobson and Rose Tremain miss out as Holocaust-themed works dominate among contenders for prestigious literary award


A work by David Cesarani, the historian who died last year aged 58, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, it has been announced.

Professor Cesarani’s Holocaust history, Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews is one of five books vying for the £4,000 prize.

Novelist Walter Kempowski was also shortlised posthumously. His work All for Nothing – a story inspired by the genocide of Germans in East Prussia at the end of World War Two - was first published in 2006, a year before his death, but was translated into English only last year by Anthea Bell.

Anna Bikont’s The Crime and Silence, about the massacre of Polish Jews in 1941,was also published over a decade ago, in 2004. A translation from the original Polish by Alissa Valles appeared last year.

East West Street, a non-fiction work by human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, delves deep into the personal lives of Nuremburg prosecutors and explores the legal implications of genocide.

Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen received the nod for her novel Walking Lions, translated from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston. The book, which tells the story of African refugees in southern Israel, is the only one on the shortlist not to feature a Holocaust-related theme.

“We feel all five books are tremendously strong, any of which would make a worthy winner” said the chair of Judges, Professor Bryan Cheyette.

“While the majority are inspired by historical events, they are all focused on live issues which have a huge relevance to the world today and connect to the present-day reader – mass refugees, the horror of war and the denial of the humanity of others in the face of global indifference.”

The other judges on the panel are award-winning playwright Amy Rosenthal, novelist Joanna Kavenna and Jewish Quarterly literary editor Natasha Lehrer.

Of the 14 authors who appeared on the original long list, announced last November, nine failed to make the cut, including novelists Howard Jacobson and Rose Tremain.

The winner will be announced on February 23 at a JW3 event celebrating the award’s 40th anniversary this year.

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