Call For Submissions
for 2024
Now Open

Call for Submissions 2024

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards invites you to submit any books in English, French or Yiddish, on a Jewish theme or topic. The Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of the winning authors with significant cash prizes and public recognition.

We accept books published between June 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024. Submissions should be received by May 31, 2024. Because we want time to read and assesses properly, early submission is encouraged and appreciated.

The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony at Al Green Theatre at the Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave, Toronto, on Sunday, October 27, 2024. Please visit the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards YouTube Channel to see how last year’s event unfolded and to experience the participation of the Award recipients..

We look forward to reading and considering all submissions.

For more information see the Submission Criteria and the Award Categories below or contact
Edward Trapunski, Chair
info@cjlawards.ca

Submission Criteria

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards invites you to submit any books in English, French or Yiddish, on a Jewish theme or topic. The author must be Canadian by birth, by background, by education or by residency but need not be Jewish.

Eligibility

  • Books written on subjects with Jewish themes or with significant Jewish content.
  • Books written by Canadian citizens or permanent or former residents of Canada.
  • Books written by Canadian citizens or permanent or former residents of Canada.
  • Books written in English, French or Yiddish
  • Books published between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023
  • Books with an ISBN, including eBooks.
  • Books with Jewish content written by non-Jewish authors are welcome.
  • Graphic books are eligible.
  • Previously submitted titles, new translations (except from Yiddish) and reissues are not eligible.

How to Submit

  • Submissions should be received by May 31, 2024. Because we want time to read and assesses properly, early submission is encouraged and appreciated.
  • There is a $50 entry fee per title submitted.
  • Five physical copies of each book plus an ebook download.
  • A completed submission form.
  • Cheques should be made out to: York University – Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies
  • Cheques and books should be mailed to

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards
2 St. Clair Ave West
18th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1L5

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards is an independent entity. We thank the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University for its support and for providing the infrastructure to allow us to administer the Awards.

Award Categories

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.

The Irving Abella Award in 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.

Awards ceremony Oct. 15, 2:00pm
Tribute Communities Recital Hall
Accolade East Building
York University

The Irving Abella Award in History

The Irving Abella Award in History will be given annually in memory of this scholar, historian and sage, who left an indelible imprint on Canadian Jewish studies. LEARN MORE

Jurors 2024

Edward Trapunski

Chair of the Jury for the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards. He is the author of four books, one of which was #1 on the Financial Post best-seller list. He was a broadcaster for over twenty years. He was the senior producer of The Arts Report on CBC Radio, which won the Imperial Oil Award for Excellence in Arts Journalism in 1993. His company, Cottingham Communications Inc., produced the acclaimed television public affairs series, N.E.W.S. (Not Exactly What It Seems) for Vision TV. In 1984, he won the ACTRA Award as Best Writer, Radio Documentary for his work on the five-hour production George Orwell: A Radio Biography. He was nominated for an International Peabody Award for the 50th Anniversary Grey Cup Broadcast documentary. He helped guide Milestone Communications Limited in its bid for a World Urban Contemporary radio station license in Toronto. He is a founding member of Toronto Women in Film and Television and was an editor of Changing Focus: The Future For Women in the Canadian Film and Television Industry.
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Rona Arato

Award-winning author of over twenty children’s books, many of them dealing with the Holocaust and human rights. Her book The Last Train, a Holocaust Story, won multiple awards including the prestigious Norma Fleck Award as best Canadian non-fiction children’s book and was a choice as Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books. The Ship to Nowhere was honored by the Sydney Taylor Awards. Her most recent book, Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Anti-Semitism and the MS St. Louis, received a starred review from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Her forthcoming book is Nothing Could Stop Her, the Courageous Life of Ruth Gruber.
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Andrew Cohen

Best-selling author, award-winning journalist, and associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, in Ottawa. The New York Times called him one of Canada’s most distinguished authors. His seven books of history, biography, and commentary range in subjects from Canada’s constitutional politics to national character and Arctic exploration. Among other subjects, he has written about Jewish Canada, the appeal of Montreal bagels, and the mystique of Leonard Cohen. His most recent book, While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, his study of Canada’s foreign policy, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, Canada’s highest literary prize. His other books explore the legacies of Prime Ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Lester B. Pearson. He is the founding president of The Historica-Dominion Institute (now Historica Canada), which promotes the study of the history of Canada and the meaning of citizenship.
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Mark Freiman

Holds a PhD from Stanford University in Modern Thought and Literature as well as a law degree from the University of Toronto. As an academic, he taught English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto and Administrative Law and Legal Ethics at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. As a lawyer, he served as a law clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada, Brian Dickson. He was Lead Commission Counsel for the Air India Inquiry. He served as Deputy Attorney General for Ontario and Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs. He was elected president of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 2009 and served until the organization’s dissolution in 2011. He practices law in Toronto and writes and speaks on the intersection of culture and human rights. Freiman has become an advocate for better preservation of a Ukrainian Holocaust memorial site where over 1,200 Jews were shot and buried in 1943. In 2019, he was awarded the Order of Ontario.
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Alain Goldschläger

Professor Emeritus of the French Department at the University of Western Ontario, where he founded the Holocaust Literature Research Institute. He has published or edited 26 books in English and French on literature,Semiotics, Jewish subjects like Spinoza and Simone Weil, Genocide issues and the Holocaust including Les Témoignages écrits de la Shoah as well as over 100 articles. He was a Canadian Official Delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance. He was a recipient of the Order of Academic Palms from the French Department and President of the League for Human Rights of B’Nai Brith for more than ten years.
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Anna Porter

One of Canada’s notable book publishers and editors. She was the co-founder of Key Porter Books which published, among others, Howard Engel, George Jonas, Martin Gilbert, Irving Abella, Jean Chretien, Farley Mowat and Margaret Atwood’s children’s books. She has written six novels and five non-fiction books, including Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, which won the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Award and a Canadian Jewish Book Award. Her book, The Ghosts of Europe, won the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been awarded the Order of Ontario.
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Sandra Rabinovitch

Founding producer of the acclaimed CBC Radio literary program Writers & Company, with host Eleanor Wachtel. Over its 33-year weekly run, she produced award-winning, in-depth interviews with remarkable international writers and artists, including 14 Nobel Prize winners and notable Jewish authors from Saul Bellow to Philip Roth to Amos Oz. She conceived and produced 25 timely, thematic special series, recorded on location, with writers in Israel, India, Central Europe, Argentina, Turkey and other countries. For CBC Radio, she also produced a weekly series of original dramatic features and readings, made documentaries, and directed radio plays. As principal story editor for CBC Radio Drama, she commissioned and developed scripts and led workshops across Canada. Sandra has evaluated scripts for Telefilm and the Ontario Film Development Corporation and has edited both fiction and nonfiction books for a variety of publishers. She served as a juror for the David A. Stein documentary prize at the 2024 Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
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Conflicts of Interest

When a Juror has other connections/conflicts with a book being considered for an Award:

  • The jurors’ expertise and connection to others in their field will likely and understandably result in friendships with authors, professional connections, as well as the writing of reviews and blurbs for books under consideration. These should not automatically preclude jurors from participating.
  • Jurors will declare any potential conflicts at the outset of deliberations. The expectation is that fairness and integrity will guide the jurors on whether or not to recuse themselves from the evaluation or decision-making regarding any particular book.

When a Juror has a book that is being considered for an Award:

  • No one shall serve on the jury when their own books are under consideration.
  • When a juror has co-authored, edited, or has made a significant contribution to a book, the juror will declare this potential conflict as soon as possible and the Jury will decide if the connection is too close for the Juror to remain on the Jury.

Award Winners

Award Winners 2023

Fiction: Lori Weber for The Ribbon Leaf (Red Deer Press)

The Irving Abella Award in History: Doris Bergen for Between God and Hitler: Military Chaplains in Nazi Germany (Cambridge University Press.)

Biography/Memoir: Moshe Safdie for If Walls Could Speak: My Life in Architecture (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Holocaust: Josef Lewkowicz for The Survivor: How I Survived Six Concentration Camps and Became a Nazi Hunter (HarperCollins)

Poetry: Gary Barwin for The Most Charming Creatures (ECW Press)

Scholarship: Derek Sayer for Postcards from Absurdistan: Prague at the End of History, (Princeton University Press)

Yiddish: Rebecca Margolis for Yiddish Lives On: Strategies of Language Transmission (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Children and Youth: Heather Camlot for The Prisoner and the Writer (Groundwood Books)

Jewish Thought and Culture: Sara Ronis for Demons in the Details: Demonic Discourse and Rabbinic Culture in Late Antique Babylonia (University of California Press))

Special Achievement Award: Michael Posner for Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories (Simon & Shuster)

Special Citation: Simon-Pierre Lacasse for Les Juifs de la Révolution tranquille : regards d’une minorité religieuse sur le Québec de 1945 à 1976 (University of Ottawa Press)


Ninth Annual Canadian Jewish Literary Awards—Complete Ceremony

Award Winners 2022

Fiction: Cary Fagan for Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart (Freehand Books)

Biography/Memoir: Charlotte Schallié for But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust (University of Toronto Press)

History: Jeffrey Veidlinger for In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.)

Holocaust: Mark Celinscak for Kingdom of Night: Witnesses to the Holocaust (University of Toronto Press)

Poetry: Adam Sol for Broken Dawn Blessings (ECW Press)

Scholarship: Gregg E. Gardner for Wealth, Poverty, and Charity in Jewish Antiquity (University of California Press)

Yiddish: Justin D. Cammy, translator and editor, for From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg: Memoir and Testimony by Abraham Sutzkever (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Youth Literature: Joanne Levy for Sorry for Your Loss (Orca Book Publishers)

Award Winners 2021

Fiction: Gary Barwin for Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy (Random House Canada)

Biography: Menachem Kaiser for Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Poetry: Lisa Richter for Nautilus and Bone (Frontenac House)

Children and Youth: Sigal Samuel for Osnat and Her Dove (Levine Querido)

Scholarship Rebecca Clifford for Survivors: Children’s Lives After the Holocaust (Yale University Press)

Holocaust: Judy Batalion for The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos (William Morrow)

Award Winners 2020

Fiction: Abraham Boyarsky for Through Shadows Slow (8th House Publishing)

Jewish Thought and Culture Tanhum Yoreh for Waste Not: A Jewish Environmental Ethic (SUNY Press)

Biography: Hernan Tesler-Mabé for Mahler’s Forgotten Conductor: Heinz Unger and His Search for Jewish Meaning, 1895–1965 (Yale University Press)

History: Derek Penslar for Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (Yale University Press)

Children/Youth: Edeet Ravel for A Boy is Not a Bird (Groundwood Books)

Yiddish: Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert, editors for How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (Restless Books)

Scholarship: David Novak for Athens and Jerusalem: God, Humans, and Nature (University of Toronto Press

Poetry: Elana Wolff for Swoon (Guernica Editions)

Holocaust: Laurent Sagalovitsch for Le Temps des orphelins (Buchet/Chastel)

Award Winners 2019

Fiction: Jennifer Robson for The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding (HarperCollins)

Memoir: Ayelet Tsabari for The Art of Leaving (Harper/Collins)

Biography: Alexandra Popoff for Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century (Yale University Press)

History: Matti Friedman for Spies of No Country: Behind Enemy Lines at the Birth of the Israeli Secret Service (Signal/McClelland & Stewart)

Children/Youth: Anne Dublin for A Cage Without Bars (Second Story Press)

Yiddish: Goldie Morgenthaler, translator, for Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays by Chava Rosenfarb (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Scholarship: Michael Kater for Culture in Nazi Germany (Yale University Press)

Holocaust: Leonard and Edith Ehrlich, Carl S. Ehrlich, editor for Choices Under Duress of the Holocaust: Benjamin Murmelstein and the Fate of Viennese Jewry Volume I: Vienna (Texas Tech University Press)

Award Winners 2018

Fiction: Natalie Morrill for The Ghost Keeper (HarperCollins Patrick Crean Editions)

Memoir/Biography: Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz for To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen’s Account of a War Criminal Trial (Second Story Press)

Poetry: Rebecca Păpacaru for The Panic Room (Nightwood Editions)

Yiddish: Seymour Mayne for In Your Words: Translations from the Yiddish and the Hebrew (Ronald P. Frye & Co)

Scholarship: Daniel Kupfert Heller for Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism (Princeton University Press)

History: Pierre Anctil for Histoire des Juifs du Québec (Les éditions du Boréal)

Holocaust Literature: Max Wallace for In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust (Allen Lane/PenguinRandom House Canada)

Children and Youth Fiction: Anne Renaud (author) and Richard Rudnicki (illustrator) for Fania’s Heart (Second Story Press)

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).

Our Mission

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.

News

Celebrating Literature CJN Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Supplement 2016
A discussion with the award-winners of the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Excalibur, Jan. 10, 2024
Gary Barwin among winners at 2023 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards CBC News, Oct. 17, 2023
Les Juifs ont participé à la Révolution tranquille au Québec l-express.ca, Oct. 16, 2023
Winners of the 2023 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards announced Quill & Quire, Sept. 23, 2023
Gary Barwin and Rebecca Clifford among 2021 Canadian Jewish Literary Award winners CBC Books, Oct. 25, 2021
The world’s first female rabbi finally gets her moment, 350 years after her death The Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 19, 2021
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards celebrates writers in virtual ceremony toronto.com, Oct. 22, 2020
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Celebrate 2020 Winners in Online Ceremony Oct. 25 Canadian Jewish Record, Oct. 22, 2020
Best Book Jewish Thought and Culture University of Toronto School of the Environment, 2020
Jennifer Robson, Ayelet Tsabari among winners for 2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards CBC Books, Oct. 30, 2019
University Of Lethbridge Professor Receives Canadian Jewish Literary Award Alberta Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2019
2019 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards 49th Shelf, Recommended Reading 2019
Anne Dublin will receive the Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Youth) 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries – Ontario Chapter
Book about Her Majesty’s wedding gown wins Jewish Canadian literary award Royal Central, Oct. 8, 2019
Book about The Queen’s wedding gown wins Canadian Jewish literary award Jewish News (Britain), Oct. 4, 2019
Winners of the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Announced Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 3, 2019
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Handed Out in Toronto Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2018
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards 2018 Winners The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Sept. 26, 2018
2017 Winners Announced September 27, 2016
Winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards Announced The Jewish Book Council, Jan. 11, 2017
Montreal-Born Writer Wins Fiction Prize at Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 2, 2016
Professor Tells a Different Story of Black-Jewish Relations Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 27, 2016
Sigal Samuel among 2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Award winners Quill & Quire, September 29, 2016
Sigal Samuel honored with Canadian literary prize Forward, September 28, 2016
2016 Winners Announced September 27, 2016
The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards Announces its Return in 2016
Two Jewish literary awards provide more opportunities March 8, 2016
Jewish Book Awards carries on under new stewardship October 30, 2015
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards announces winners October 21, 2015
Jewish literary awards to go on despite Koffler hiatus May 12, 2015

Read more

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.

Download the speech.

Jewish culture and Jewish survival

“Jewish culture is an essential, inextricable component of our Jewish identity as much, I would argue, as our holy books. It was culture and not religion that sustained the Israelites for centuries as slaves under the Egyptian pharaohs. It was culture that helped sustain the Jewish communities of Iberia under Islamic rule, also for centuries. And it was Jewish culture that helped preserve Jewish identity in Eastern Europe as more and more of our brethren abandoned traditional religious observance.”
—Michael Posner accepting the award for Special Achievement at the 9th annual Canadian Jewish Literary Awards ceremony in 2023.

Children and Youth: Heather Camlot for The Prisoner and the Writer (Groundwood Books)

The Prisoner and the Writer by Heather Camlot (Groundwood Books) is a powerful middle-grade story told from two perspectives. In 1895, Captain Alfred Dreyfus is accused of treason against France and exiled to a prison on Devil’s Island. Emile Zola was a major French writer of the time. Zola risked his career by publishing J'Accuse…!, an open letter on the front page of a Paris daily explaining that Alfred was blamed, charged, tried and convicted only because he is Jewish. Written in verse, with graphic illustrations, this book is an excellent introduction to the Dreyfus Affair and the antisemitism that spawned it. Published in time for the 125th anniversary of J’Accuse …!, this bookacts as a reminder that a person committed to truth, justice and equality must stand up and speak out against prejudice.

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