Six authors to compete for JQ Wingate prize

Linda Grant and Laurence Rees on shortlist for top literary award


The shortlist for the 2018 JQ Wingate Literary Prize has been announced with six authors vying for the £4,000 award.

The contenders for the prize, which is now in its 41st year and aims to demonstrate the "depth and diversity" of Jewish fiction and non-fiction writing globally, are:

The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank, an autobiographical portrait of his upbringing in Los Angeles and his claustrophic living arrangements where his aunt was his father’s sister and uncle his mother’s brother.

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant, follows two Jewish twins being treated for tuberculosis in a sanitorium in post-war Kent at the dawn on the National Health Service.

The Unchosen: The Lives of Israel’s New Others by Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, investigates the lives of asylum seekers and migrant workers in Israel, examining how it responds to its minorities, and the implications for the future of a specifically Jewish state.

Small Pieces: A Book of Lamentations by Joanne Limburg, details the author’s grief over her brother’s suicide and the solace she finds in secular Judaism.

Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem by George Prochnik, part biography of the founder of modern kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, and part investigation into the author’s evolving thoughts on Jewish nationhood, plurality and ethics

The Holocaust by Laurence Rees, shines new light on the Shoah, featuring previously unpublished first-hand testimony from both survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust, and draws on the author’s decades of interviews as a documentary-maker.

The judging panel will be led by TLS fiction and politics editor Toby Lichtig, and will comprise journalist, broadcaster and Booker Prize Foundation trustee Bidisha; author and critic Amanda Craig and London School of Jewish Studies Teaching Fellow Maureen Kendler.

Mr Lichtig said: “We are delighted with this shortlist, which demonstrates the depth, vitality and diversity of Jewish writing across genres, generations and continents.

“While all of these books reflect in some important way on specifically Jewish experience, so too do they all shine a light on matters of universal human importance.”

Last year’s joint winners were lawyer Philippe Sands for his novel East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen for her novel Walking Lions.

The winner will be announced on February 15 at a ceremony held at JW3 and chaired by Emily Kasriel, a senior executive at the BBC World Service Group.

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