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Wingate Literary Prize

Shortlist announced for Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prizes

From the Holocaust to Rock 'n Roll - the best of contemporary Jewish writing The judges have selected an exceptionally wide-ranging shortlist for the 2000 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prizes for Fiction and Non Fiction. Eight contrasting titles, by authors from many different backgrounds and exploring a variety of themes, have been shortlisted for the only major UK awards for books of Jewish interest.

"The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prizes recognise the contribution authors can make to thinking about issues related to Jews and Judaism, whether they are writing about the Holocaust or the influence of Jews on the world of entertainment," said Rabbi Julia Neuberger, chairman of the judges. "Overall, the standards were very high this year and choosing the winners will be difficult."

The Fiction and Non-Fiction Prizes for 2000 will be announced at a reception on Monday 30th April 2001 at the Arts Club in London. The two overall winners will each receive 4,000, with 300 awarded to the three shortlisted runners-up in each category.

Fiction Prize shortlist:

  • When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (Granta Books)
  • In the Shape of a Boar by Lawrence Norfolk (Weidenfeld & Nicholson)
  • Will Dolores Come to Tea? by Elisabeth Russell Taylor (Arcadia)
  • When the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad by Mona Yahia (Peter Halban)

Julia Neuberger said: "Jews live and write all over the world and the locations we visited in our fiction reading ranged from Baghdad and Tel Aviv to Paris and Cardiff. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of humour - whether sharp and ironic, or tender and evocative."

Non-Fiction Prize shortlist:

  • Rock 'n' Roll Jews by Michael Billig (Five Leaves)
  • Chasing Shadows by Hugo Gryn with Naomi Gryn (Viking)
  • Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948 by Louise London (Cambridge University Press)
  • The Past in Hiding by Mark Roseman (Allen Lane/Penguin Press)

Julia Neuberger said: "We had to choose between general interest and scholarly books, covering serious themes like immigration and the Holocaust as well as personal memoirs and more lighthearted topics. Whatever the theme, these authors offer us the best in Jewish writing today."

Established in 1976 and sponsored by the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prizes are awarded annually to newly published books which stimulate an interest in and awareness of themes of Jewish concern amongst a wider reading public. Former winners include Chaim Bermant, Amos Oz, Conor Cruise O'Brien and Chaim Herzog. Last year's Non Fiction Prize was awarded to Wladyslaw Szpilman for his moving wartime memoir, The Pianist (Phoenix) - shortly to be the subject of a major feature film by Roman Polanski - and the Fiction Prize to Howard Jacobson for his witty, multi-layered novel, The Mighty Walzer (Cape/Vintage).

This year's judging panel is chaired by Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Chief Executive of independent health care charity the Kings Fund. She is joined by Julia Hobsbawm, Chairwoman of public relations firm Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, Michael Lazarus, former Chairman of the Jewish Literary Trust and Jon Silverman, Home and Legal Affairs Correspondent of the BBC. Julia Neuberger said "I was both touched and thrilled to be asked to chair such a distinguished panel for these important prizes, which have brought to prominence many authors and their work."

- ends -
5th March 2001
Notes to editors:

Published continuously in London since 1953, The Jewish Quarterly is one of the foremost Jewish literary and cultural journals in the English language. Its spectrum of subjects includes art, criticism, fiction, film, history, Judaism, literature, poetry, philosophy, politics, theatre, the Shoah and Zionism.

The Harold Hyam Wingate Charitable Foundation is a private grant-giving institution, first established forty years ago. It has supported these literary awards for over 20 years.

Press enquiries to Martine Reuben or Andrea Marks at AMPR, telephone 020-8 958 4398 email andrea_marks@compuserve.com


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