Wingate Literary Prize
Mona Yahia and Mark Roseman win Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prizes
Presented on 30th April 2001
The judges of this year's Jewish
Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prizes, sponsored by the Harold Hyam Wingate
Foundation, awarded the Fiction prize to Mona Yahia for her debut novel
When the Grey Beetles took over Baghdad, and the Non-Fiction prize
to Mark Roseman for the compelling A Past In Hiding.
The two winning authors were
each presented with a cheque for £4,000 at a reception at the Arts Club in
London on Monday 30th April. The six shortlisted authors each received
Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Chair
of the judges, said: 'We were overwhelmed by the high standard of the
books on the Fiction and on Fiction shortlists, and by the range of subjects
covered and quality of writing, but we were unanimous in our decision and
thrilled with what we received to read.'
Mona Yahia was born in Baghdad
into an Iraqi Jewish family. Together with her family, she escaped to
Israel in 1970. She studied Psychology at Tel Aviv University and worked as
a trainer in the School for Army Commanders. In 1985, she moved to Germany
to study fine arts. She has published short stories in London Magazine and
The Jewish Quarterly, as well as in German anthologies.
Mark Roseman is Professor of
Modern History at Southampton University. His research lies broadly in the
field of twentieth century German history and he has a particular interest
in Holocaust survivor biography and memory. He called on his vast knowledge
in this subject for this award-winning book, which examines the way records
and testimonies of the Holocaust can both complement and contradict each other.
Established in 1976 and sponsored
by the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary
Prizes are awarded annually to newly published books that stimulate an interest
in and awareness of themes of Jewish concern amongst a wider reading public
This year's judging panel was
chaired by Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Chief Executive of independent health care
charity the Kings Fund, 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.
2001 Fiction Winner:
the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad by Mona Yahia (Peter Halban)
remarkable debut novel focuses on the vulnerable Jewish community in 1960s
Baghdad, where superstition and social niceties live side by side with public
hangings and disappearances. The story is seen through the eyes of a 15 year
old girl, born into a Jewish Iraqi family. It is set in the aftermath of the
six day war, within the backdrop of the rise of the Ba'ath party and its regime
of terror over the Jewish community.
comments Mona Yahia conjures up the scents and atmosphere of Baghdad,
as well as growing fear, with consummate elegance. You can feel your
flesh tingle as you read it.
Fiction Prize runners up
I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (Granta Books)
the Shape of a Boar by Lawrence Norfolk (Weidenfeld & Nicholson)
Dolores Come to Tea? by Elisabeth Russell Taylor (Arcadia)
2001 Non-Fiction Winner:
Past in Hiding by Mark Roseman (Allen Lane/Penguin Press)
story focuses on the author's relationship with Holocaust survivor Marianne
Ellenbogen. Roseman interviewed the elderly Liverpool resident about her experiences,
and after her death he found himself with access to a vast array of papers
secreted in her house, including photographs, diaries and letters. Drawing
on interviews with those who knew her, on countless papers and on Roseman's
wide knowledge about the Third Reich, this is also the story of a historian's
investigation into the nature of memory.
comments 'Mark Roseman has written a history of one woman's experience
which ends up being a brilliant account of memory and the tricks it plays,
as well as a tribute to an unsung heroine.'
2001 Non-Fiction Prize runners up:
Žn' Roll Jews by Michael Billig (Five Leaves)
Shadows by Hugo Gryn with Naomi Gryn (Viking)
and the Jews 1933-1948 by Louise London (Cambridge University Press)
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.
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.