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March 23rd 2005

The Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize 2005 Shortlists announcement

The shortlisted titles for this year’s Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prizes for Fiction and Non-Fiction have been announced. These are the only awards in the UK to recognise major works of Jewish interest. The shortlist is as follows:





Natasha and Other Stories

David Bezmozgis

Jonathan Cape

Young Turk

Moris Farhi


The Making of Henry

Howard Jacobson

Jonathan Cape





The Temple of Jerusalem

Simon Goldhill

Profile Books

In the Garden of Memory

Joanna Olczak-Ronikier

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

A Tale of Love and Darkness

Amos Oz

Chatto & Windus

Nine Suitcases

Béla Zsolt

Jonathan Cape

David Pryce-Jones, Chairman of the 2005 Judges, comments:

"The committee has had a very wide choice of books, both fiction and non-fiction. The shortlists could well have been longer. Writing about Jews and by Jews is evidently thriving, and this has been an exciting challenge to the committee."

The winners of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize will be announced on 17 May at an awards ceremony at The British Academy. The Fiction and Non-Fiction Prize are each worth £4,000 and the shortlisted runners-up are awarded £300.

The Shortlists


Natasha and Other Stories    
David Bezmozgis  Jonathan Cape  £10.99

Natasha introduces the Berman family - Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto. In 'Tapka', six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring tragedy to the neighbours upstairs. In 'Roman Berman, Massage Therapist', Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first, humiliating dinner with a North American family. Bezmozgis writes with clarity and compassion about the pains and joys of immigration. His stories are the literature of an immigrant community whose tale has yet to be told.

David Bezmozgis was born in Riga, Latvia in 1973. In 1980 he emigrated with his parents to Toronto, where he still lives today. Natasha and Other Stories is his first book.


Young Turk    
Moris Farhi Saqi           £9.99

Against the backdrop of Nazism, in a multi-racial Turkey giving sanctuary to many of Europe’s fleeing Jews, a group of teenage friends struggles to understand events while reeling from (and relishing) the sexual and emotional discoveries of adolescence.

“Farhi shames the willed littleness of British fiction with this novel” David Hare

Moris Farhi was born in Turkey in 1935. He has written several novels, including Children of the Rainbow and Journey through the Wilderness. He is vice-president of International PEN, and in 2001 was appointed MBE for services to literature. He lives in London.


The Making of Henry    
Howard Jacobson  Jonathan Cape          £12.99

One day out of the blue, Henry Nagel receives a solicitor’s letter telling him he has inherited a sumptuous apartment in St John’s Wood. Divine intervention? Or his late father’s love nest? Henry doesn’t know, but he is glad to escape the North, where there is nothing and no one to keep him. After nearly sixty years of angry disappointment, Henry’s life is about to change.

“One of the country’s very best writers, the British Philip Roth.” Jonathan Freedland

Howard Jacobson was born in 1942 and educated at Cambridge University. He is the author of Coming From Behind, Peeping Tom, Redback, The Very Model of A Man, No More Mister Nice Guy, The Mighty Walzer, which won the Everyman Wodehouse Award for Comic Writing and Who’s Sorry Now? which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.


Non Fiction

The Temple of Jerusalem    
Simon Goldhill Profile Books         £15.99

Few buildings in the world have had such a power to inspire as the Temple in Jerusalem. Yet it has not existed for nearly 2000 years. The Temple of Jerusalem tells the history of that monument of the imagination and its significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Simon Goldhill explores the Temple’s unique history and its changing use in religious, political and cultural context: a story that from the Crusades onwards has helped form the modern political world.

“A brilliant little book which explores our continuing fascination with this eternal monument to the human imagination.” Tristram Hunt

Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at Cambridge.


In the Garden of Memory    
Joanna Olczak-Ronikier Weidenfeld & Nicolson         £20.00

An intimate family portrait, In the Garden of Memory follows the lives of four generations of Polish Jews who lived through - and mostly survived – all the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. Full of tales of bravery as well as comical anecdotes of everyday life, In the Garden of Memory is a mixture of history and biography that reads like a novel.

Joanna Olczak-Roniker was born in 1934 and is a highly respected writer and journalist. Her grandparents, the Mortkowicz family, ran one of the best literary bookshops and publishing houses in Poland before World War II.


A Tale of Love and Darkness    
Amos Oz Chatto & Windus       £17.99

Love and darkness are just two of the powerful forces that run through Amos Oz’s extraordinary, moving story. He takes the reader through the journey of his childhood and adolescence in war-torn Jerusalem in the 1940s and 50s.

“Oz is a writer of revelatory genius.” The Guardian

Amos Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is the internationally acclaimed author of many novels and essay collections, translated into thirty languages. He has received several international awards including the Prix Femina, the Israel Prize and the Frankfurt Peace Prize. He is married with two daughters and lives in Arad, Israel.


Nine Suitcases    
Béla Zsolt   Jonathan Cape      £17.99

Nine Suitcases is one of the earliest memoirs of the Holocaust. Concentrating on his experiences in the ghetto in Nagyvárad and as a forced labourer in the Ukraine, Zsolt provides not only a rare insight into Hungarian fascism, but also a shocking exposure of the cruelty, indifference, selfishness, cowardice and betrayal which human beings – the victims no less than the perpetrators – are capable in extreme circumstances

Béla Zsolt was one of Hungary’s best-known writers in the early twentieth century. Born in 1895, he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1914 to 1918 and in a Hungarian-Jewish forced-labour unit in 1942-1943. In 1944, after a spell in a Hungarian ghetto and a German concentration camp, he found refuge in Switzerland. In 1945 he returned to Hungary and in 1947 became an anti-communist member of parliament. He died in 1949.



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