Wingate Literary Prize
Zadie Smith and Sebastian Haffner win top literary prize
Zadie Smith and Sebastian Haffner were named winners of the
Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize 2003. Zadie Smiths
novel, The Autograph Man, won the Fiction award and Defying
Hitler by Sebastian Haffner took the Non-Fiction prize. The two
winners each receive a cheque for £4,000 and the four shortlisted runners-up
in each category receive £300 each. The prize giving ceremony took place in
the Arts Club in central London and was attended by over 75 key figures in the
publishing industry, book trade and Jewish literary community.
The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize is the latest in
an impressive line-up of awards that Zadie Smith has won. The
Autograph Man is an original look
at contemporary forms of Jewishness, and at Jewishness as a
template of today's hybrid identities and multicultural societies. Her debut
novel White Teeth won amongst many others, the Whitbread Award for
a First Novel, The Guardian First Book Award, The WH Smith Book Award
for New Talent, The Commonwealth Writers First Book Award and Overall
Commonwealth Writers Prize. The Autograph Man described by The
Independent as ìa glorious concoction written by our most beguiling and
original prose-wizardî was also longlisted for The Man Booker Prize for Fiction
When the famous German author Sebastian Haffner died at the age
of ninety-one in 1999, a manuscript was discovered among his unpublished papers.
The book was begun in 1939 but with the advent of World War II Haffner set it
aside. After his death in 1999, his son Oliver Pretzel discovered the unfinished
manuscript and translated it from the original German into English. His family
made the decision to publish it and the result is Defying Hitler. Spanning
the period from 1907 to 1933, it offers a unique perspective on the rise of
Hitler and the growing influence of Nazism, and anticipates much of what was
to unfold in the ensuing years. Defying Hitler is a highly illuminating
portrait of a time, a place and a people. ìA brilliant, moving and terrifying
evocation of the destruction of civilisation in Germany by the Nazisî commented
The Sunday Telegraph.
Now in their 26th year, the Jewish Quarterly Wingate
Literary Prizes are awarded for Fiction and Non-Fiction and are worth £4,000
to each category winner and £300 for the four shortlisted runners-ups in each
category. They are the only awards in the UK to celebrate and recognise the
full variety and originality of major works of Jewish interest.
Jewish and non-Jewish authors resident in the UK, British
Commonwealth, Europe and Israel are eligible. Books submitted must be in English,
either originally or in translation.
The titles selected for this years shortlist were:
|Lovely Green Eyes
|| Arnost Lustig
|The Autograph Man
|| Zadie Smith
|The Gossamer Wall
|| Micheal OSiadhail
|The Song of Names
|| Norman Lebrecht
|The Strange Case of Dr Simmonds & Dr Glas
|| Dannie Abse
|| Sebastian Haffner
|| Weidenfeld & Nicolson
|| Roman Frister
|| Weidenfeld & Nicolson
|| Ian Thomson
|The Double Bond
|| Carole Angier
|| Viking Penguin
|The Girl in the Red Coat
|| Roma Ligocka
The Judges for this years prize
were Sir Jeremy Isaacs (Chairman), David Herman, Eva Hoffman, Jeremy Rosen and
Martha Kearney. Background information on this years judging panel is attached.
After the judges had made their decision, Sir Jeremy Isaacs
The panel, spoilt for choice,
was never unanimous, but found two clear winners. Each captures a moment in
the worlds time, and illuminates it for us. Zadie Smiths The Autograph
Man is of today. Her hero swims in the swirl of Londons multi-racial mix
and match, and, somehow stays Jewish. An entertainingly contemporary tale.
Sebastian Haffners Defying Hitler was written sixty years ago. He pins
down with brilliant clarity the hour the Nazis came to Germany, and Germans,
getting on with their lives, acquiesced in their coming. Dissenters fell silent,
and went with the tide. Danger turned, overnight, to doom. One short volume
says it all.
The winning entries:
The Autograph Man
Zadie Smith Hamish Hamilton
Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs. A small blip in a huge worldwide network of
desire, it is his business to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them,
occasionally fake them, and all to give the people what they want: a little
piece of Fame. The Autograph Man is an existential tour around the hollow
things of modernity - celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over
Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She now
lives in the US. The Autograph Man is her second novel. Her first novel,
White Teeth, published in 2000 was the winner of the Whitbread First
Novel Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction
and The Commonwealth Writers First Book Award and Overall
Commonwealth Writers Prize.
Sebastian Haffner Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Published for the first time in Great Britain and Ireland,
this is a brilliantly observed memoir of growing up in Berlin between 1914 and
1933, which shows how this generation of German youth were seduced by Hitler
and the Nazis. First published in Germany, it was a No. 1 bestseller there for
42 consecutive weeks. The reasons which made Haffner put this aside ‚ its rawness,
its revelations, its closeness to the event it describes ‚ are precisely what
makes it such compelling reading today.
Sebastian Haffner was born in Berlin in 1907. In 1938 he
emigrated to England and a few years later began writing for The Observer.
He returned to Germany in 1954 and became the best-selling author of, among
other works, The Meaning of Hitler. He died in 1999. Defying Hitler
was translated by his son, Oliver Pretzel.
Sir Jeremy Isaacs (Chair)
joined Granada Television as a producer in 1958 and worked on programmes such
as What the Papers Say and Panorama for the BBC. He is probably
best known for the historical documentaries made for British television, such
as The World At War, Ireland: A Television History and Cold
War. Isaacs also produced A Sense Of Freedom, based on the book by
reformed murderer Jimmy Boyle. He was Director of Programmes at Thames Television
and, from 1981-87, the first Chief Executive of Channel Four Television. Between
1988 and 1996 Isaacs was General Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
He has won numerous BAFTA awards, international Emmies and was president of
the Royal Television Society from 1997 to 2000. Sir Jeremy is currently chairman
David Herman is a television
and radio producer and writer. Over almost twenty years David has worked on
Start the Week (Radio 4), The Late Show (BBC 2), Face to Face
(BBC 2), Voices (Channel 4) and Madness (a documentary series
with Jonathan Miller, BBC2). Most recently, he has produced Isaiah Berlin
(BBC 2), The Sundays (Channel 4), The Trial of Freedom (Channel
4) and Whose Right is it Anyway? (ITV). David is a regular contributor
to Prospect, The Independent, The New Statesman and The Jewish Chronicle.
He has written for The Jewish Quarterly for twenty years.
Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland. After emigrating to Canada in
her teens, she went on to study in the United States and receive her Ph.D. in
English and American Literature from Harvard University. She has written for
the New York Times as a literary critic, taught literature and creative
writing in various universities in the U.S and Britain and is the author of
a number of books including The Secret, Lost and Translation: A Life
in a New Language, Exit Into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe,
Shtetl: The History of a Small Town and an Extinguished World. She has received
numerous grants and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a prize from
the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Whiting Award for Writing. Eva
holds a regular appointment as Visiting Professor at the Department of Foreign
Languages and Literatures at MIT.
Martha Kearney is political
editor of BBC TVs Newsnight, and has quickly developed a reputation
as one of the BBCs most high-flying political journalists. Martha joined Newsnight
in 1994, having previously been a reporter for BBC1s On the Record,
since 1988. In 1998 Martha was nominated for a BAFTA for her coverage of the
Northern Ireland peace process. As well as her Newsnight appearances,
Martha is also a regular presenter for the Today programme, The
Talkshow for BBC4 and is a presenter of BBC4s Womans Hour.
In 2000 she was nominated, with Jenni Murray, for the Sony Radio Award for News
and Talk Broadcasting, and in 2001 Martha won the Sony Radio Bronze award.
Rabbi Jeremy Rosen is the director of YAKAR in London and Professor
at the Faculty for Comparative Religion (F.V.G) in Antwerp. He studied philosophy
at Cambridge University and received his rabbinic ordination from the heads
of Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Ponevez in Bnei Brak. Jeremy has served as rabbi
in orthodox congregations in Bulawayo, Glasgow and London. He was Headmaster
and Principal of Carmel College for fourteen years and has been involved in
Jewish Education at the European Commission in Brussels through CEJI (Centre
Europeen Juif dInformation). He has worked as an Educational and Rabbinical
Consultant in New York and still lectures there regularly. His book on Jewish
theology Exploding myths that Jews Believe was published by Jason Aaronson
in New York in 1991. Jeremy moved back to London in 1991 to take over YAKAR
and to write his weekly column for London Jewish News.