The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards recognizes the finest books with Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors in a variety of genres. It enriches and promotes Canadian Jewish writing and culture, enabling us to better understand our collective past, our shared present, and the world of the future. The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards does more than reward winning authors with a cash prize and a moment in the spotlight. It builds pride, not only in the individuals being honoured, but in the creative achievements that reflect Jewish themes and ideas.
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Edward Trapunski: Chair, author of three books and winner of an ACTRA Award as best writer.
Judith Ghert: Volunteer and member of the board of the Ontario Jewish Archives and member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Canada.
Alain Goldschläger: Director of the Holocaust Literature Research Institute and Professor of French at Western University, and former Chair of The NationaI Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.
Andrea Knight: Editor and former co-publisher of the New Jewish Press, the publishing program of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto, and former managing editor of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs.
David Koffman: J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University
Arlene Perly Rae: Canadian journalist, literary critic and author. She reviewed children's literature in the Toronto Star for many years and has written for The Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire and Maclean's.
Michael Posner: Award-winning author and playwright and former reporter for the Globe and Mail.
Fiction: novels and short story collections with Jewish content.
Scholarship: books of original research that contribute to Jewish knowledge.
Biography/Memoir: autobiography, personal memoir or family history The subject must have relevance to the Jewish experience.
History: non-fiction works about the Jewish historical experience
Youth Literature: books on a Jewish theme for children or young adults
Poetry: books of verse including significant Jewish content.
Holocaust Literature: books concerning the Holocaust including autobiographies, memoirs, academic studies, history and fiction.
Jewish Thought & Culture: non-fiction works illuminating Jewish thinking, culture, and the Jewish experience.
Yiddish: books in Yiddish or about Yiddish culture; translations from Yiddish (fiction or non-fiction) also considered.
The Jury may choose award categories at its discretion, and may elect to forgo awarding a prize in any category if it determines that there is no prize-worthy publication in that category in a given year.
The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Ceremony 2017
Award Winners 2017
Fiction: Gary Barwin, for Yiddish for Pirates (Vintage Canada).
Holocaust Literature: Myrna Goldenberg, editor, for Before All Memory Is Lost: Women's Voices from the Holocaust (Azrieli Foundation)
Memoir/Biography: Matti Friedman, for Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story (Signal/McClelland & Stewart).
Children and Youth Fiction: Eva Wiseman, for Another Me (Tundra Books)
Poetry: Stuart Ross, for A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak & Wynn)
History: Roger Frie, for Not In My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust (Oxford University Press)
Yiddish: Rachel Seelig, for Strangers in Berlin: Modern Jewish Literature Between East and West 1919-1933 (University of Michigan Press).
Jewish Thought and Culture: Chantal Ringuet and Gérard Rabinovitch, editors, for Les révolutions de Leonard Cohen (Presses de l'Université du Québec).
Scholarship: Joel Hecker, for The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Vol 11 (Stanford University Press).
Award Winners 2016
Fiction: Sigal Samuel, for The Mystics of Mile End (Freehand Books).
Holocaust Literature: Agata Tuszyńska, for A Family History of Fear (Knopf Canada)
Memoir/Biography: Howard Akler, for Men of Action (Coach House Press).
Children and Youth Fiction: Anne Dublin, for 44 Hours or Strike! (Second Story Press)
History: Michael Marrus, for Lessons of the Holocaust (University of Toronto Press)
Yiddish: Helen Mintz, translator, for Vilna, My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz (Syracuse University Press).
Jewish Thought and Culture: Julia Creet, Sara R. Horowitz and Amira Bojadzija-Dan, editors, for H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy (Northwestern University Press).
Scholarship: Sarah Phillips Casteel, for Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press).
Award Winners 2015
Novel: Nora Gold, for Fields of Exile (Dundurn Press).
Scholarship: James A. Diamond, for Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (Cambridge University Press).
Biography/Memoir: Alison Pick, for Between Gods: A Memoir (Doubleday Canada).
History: Joseph Hodes, for From India to Israel: Identity, Immigration, and the Struggle for Religious Equality (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Youth Literature: Suri Rosen, for Playing with Matches (ECW Press)
Poetry: Robyn Sarah, for My Shoes Are Killing Me (Biblioasis).
Holocaust Literature: Beverley Chalmers, for Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule (Grosvenor House)
Short Fiction: Mireille Silcoff, for Chez l’Arabe (House of Anansi).
Yiddish: Ruth Panofsky, for The Collected Poems of Miriam Waddington: A Critical Edition (University of Ottawa Press).
What is a Jewish Book?
Canadian Jewish Literary Award Juror Andrea Knight spoke at Tikkun Leil Shavout, May 19, 2018, at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre about what exactly makes a book Jewish
CJL Awards chairman Edward Trapunski and juror Andrea Knight
What I’ve learned — and I speak only for myself, not for the whole jury — is that is it possible for a Jewish author to bring a je ne sais quoi, what I would call a Jewish sensibility to her or his writing, regardless of the quantifiable Jewish content. It might be the rhythms of the language, a smattering of Yiddish or Yiddish syntax, a certain sense of humour.
On Jewish writing
Former Canadian Jewish Literary Award juror Sara Horowitz, professor of literature at Israel And Golda Koschitzky Centre For Jewish Studies At York University, delivered this speech at the Canadian Jewish News Prize for Young Writers awards ceremony, Feb. 10, 2016