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Alefs in Wonderland
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All About Jewish Theatre
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Wingate Literary Prize

Winners of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for 2005

At the award ceremony on 17 May, Amoz Oz and David Bezmozgis were named winners of the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize for 2005. A Tale of Love and Darkness byAmoz Oz won the Non-Fiction award and Natasha and Other Stories took the Fiction prize. The two winners each receive a cheque for £4,000 and the shortlisted runners-up in each category receive £300 each.

David Pryce-Jones, Chairman of the 2005 Judges, comments: ‘The judges had many excellent books to choose from. The choice was very difficult as the entries were so wide-ranging and varied. But we think we’ve done a good job with our winners.’

A Tale of Love and Darkness (Chatto & Windus), thought to be the biggest-selling literary work in Israeli history, is at once a family saga and a self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history. 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, where he finally becomes a writer as well as an active participant in the political life of Israel.

Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Amos Oz 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 for Literature and the Frankfurt Peace Prize.

David Bezmozgis became an overnight star when he published stories in the holy trinity of American magazines for fiction lovers: The New Yorker, Harper’s and Zoetrope. His debut book, Natasha and Other Stories (Jonathan Cape), is a collection of seven partially autobiographical short stories concerning a family of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants in Toronto in the early 1980s. Roman Berman, the patriarch, is a former Soviet athletic trainer who aspires to be a massage therapist in Canada. His son, Mark, a first-grader when the family emigrates, grows up over the course of the seven stories, confronting his identity as a Jew of Soviet heritage cast into an exciting but confusing Western community. Bezmozgis writes with clarity and compassion about the pains and joys of immigration.

David Bezmozgis was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1973. In 1980 he emigrated with his parents to Toronto, where he still lives today.

Now in their 29th year, the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prizes are the only awards in the UK to celebrate and recognize the full variety and originality of major works of Jewish interest. The prize-giving ceremony took place at the British Academy in central London and was attended by key figures in the publishing industry, book trade and Jewish literary community.

The judges for this year’s prize were David Pryce-Jones (Chairman), Tracy Chevalier, Claudia Roden and Erich Segal.

The Harold Hyam Wingate Charitable Foundation is a private grant-giving institution, first established more than forty years ago. It has supported the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prizes for 28 years and, since 1989, has also organized and supported the Wingate Scholarships.

  © 2006 Jewish Quarterly | All rights reserved