2007 JQ Wingate Prize
Submitted to: Books 
Posted: February 21 2007

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February 21 2007 (Jewswire.com) - The shortlisted titles for this year’s Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction and Non-Fiction will be announced at Jewish Book Week on Sunday 25 February at 5.30 pm.

These are the only awards in the UK to recognise major works, by Jewish or non-Jewish authors, that stimulate an interest in and awareness of themes of Jewish concern among a wider reading public.

Previous winners were Amos Oz, David Bezmozgis, David Grossman, Amos Elon, Zadie Smith, WG Sebald, Sebastian Haffner and Imre Kertesz.

The prize is sponsored by the Harold Hyam Wingate Charitable Foundation.

This year’s shortlist:

Bad Faith Carmen Callil Cape

Kalooki Nights Howard Jacobson Cape

City of Oranges Adam LeBor Bloomsbury

The Earl of Petticoat Lane Andrew Miller Heinemann

Suite Française Irene Nemirovsky Chatto

A Woman in Jerusalem AB Yehoshua Halban

“This year's list well reflects the sheer variety of major original work, of broad general interest, being published on Jewish themes. The fiction includes a haunting novella by one of Israel’s (and the world's) leading writers, a typically exuberant and challenging book by a British master at the height of his powers and possibly the most impressive "rediscovered novel" of recent years. The non-fiction is equally wide-ranging and impressive, covering everything from the social rise of an East End lingerie entrepreneur to the dilemmas of coexistence in Israel-Palestine and the dark heart of the German Occupation of France. No one could fail to be stimulated and enthralled by these books.” Matthew Reisz, JQ editor

The winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize will be announced on May 1st at an awards ceremony to take place at the British Academy. Details of the titles on the shortlist are attached to this release.

Notes to Editors

Established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate, the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize is now in its 30th year. From 2006, there is only be one winner who will receive £5,000.

The 2007 panel of judges is chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, with Professor Michael Baum, Michael Kustow and Anne Sebba.

Jewish and non-Jewish authors resident in the UK, British Commonwealth, Europe and Israel are eligible. Books submitted must be in English, either originally or in translation.

Published in London since 1953, The Jewish Quarterly is one of the foremost 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.

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 20 years, and, since 1989, has also organised and supported the Wingate Scholarships.

Judges

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown came to this country in 1972 from Uganda. She is a journalist and regular columnist on The Independent and London’s Evening Standard. She is also a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books. She is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre, Vice President of the United Nations Association, UK and a special ambassador for the Samaritans. She is the President of the Institute of Family Therapy. She returned her MBE as a protest against the war in Iraq. In 2005, she was voted the 10th most influential black/Asian woman in the country.

Professor Michael Baum is Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities at University College London. He is the Chairman of the National Cancer Research Network Psycho-social Oncology Development Group and is the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Surgery.

Michael Kustow is a writer and producer in the theatre, films and television. His authorized biography of Peter Brook brings together his experiences in theatre in England, France and America, and is based on a friendship of more than forty years. He was director of The Institute of Contemporary Arts, Associate Director of the National Theatre and the first Commissioning Editor of Arts for Channel 4 Television. He is currently working on two books, Diasporas, about being third-generation English, and The Half, with photographer Simon Annand, about actors in their dressing-rooms.

Anne Sebba, biographer, is a former Reuters foreign correspondent who has written eight books, several short stories and a radio play. Her latest book, a life of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's American mother, is due out in London and New York in the Autumn of 2007. She is closely involved with two charities, YaD and PEN, the writers organisation, where she has worked for the Writers in Prison Committee."

The Short List

Bad Faith by Carmen Callil

Jonathan Cape

Carmen Callil tells the story of one of history’s most despicable villains and conmen – Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Nazi collaborator and ‘Commissioner for Jewish Affairs’, who managed the Vichy government’s dirty work, ‘controlling’ its Jewish population.

Born into a politically moderate family, Louis Darquier (‘de Pellepoix’ was a later affectation) proceeded from modest beginnings to claw his way to power. He was the ultimate chancer: always broke, always desperate for attention, status, women and drink, he became ‘one of the few men to put on weight during the Second World War’. After it was over he decamped to Spain and would never be brought to justice for having sent thousands of Jews to the camps.

Early on in his career he married the alcoholic Myrtle Jones from Tasmania, equally practised in the arts of deception. Together they had a child, Anne Darquier, whom they promptly abandoned to grow up in England under an oppressive mantle of silence. Her tragic story is woven through the narrative. Darquier’s ascent to power during the years leading up to World War II mirrors the rise of French anti-Semitism and the role it played in the horrors that were to follow. The book is a portrait of a society that was desperate and fragmented and which was collectively guilty in choosing to turn a blind eye.

Carmen Callil founded the Virago Press. In 1982 she was appointed Managing Director of Chatto & Windus and The Hogarth Press. At Virago, she was responsible for the creation and development of the Virago Modern Classics list. From 1985 she was a member of the Board of Channel 4 Television. She is now a critic and writer.

Kalooki Nights by Howard Jacobson

Jonathan Cape

Life should have been sunny for Max Glickman, growing up in Crumpsall Park in peacetime, with his mother’s glamorous card evenings to look forward to, and photographs of his father’s favourite boxers on the walls. But other voices whisper seductively to him of Buchenwald, extermination, and the impossibility of forgetting.

Fixated on the crimes which have been committed against his people, but unable to live among them, Max moves away, marries out, and draws cartoon histories of Jewish suffering in which no one, least of all the Jews, is much interested. But it’s a life. Or it seems a life until Max’s long-disregarded childhood friend, Manny Washinsky, is released from prison. Little by little, as he picks up his old connection with Manny, trying to understand the circumstances in which he made a Buchenwald of his own home, Max is drawn into Manny’s family history – above all his brother’s tragic love affair with a girl who is half German. But more than that, he is drawn back into the Holocaust obsessions from which he realises there can be, and should be, no release.

There is wild, angry, even uproarious laughter in this novel, but it is laughter on the edge. It is the comedy of cataclysm.

Born in Manchester, Howard Jacobson is the author of Coming from Behind, No More Mister Nice Guy, The Mighty Walzer, Who's Sorry Now, The Making of Henry and most recently and to enthusiastic acclaim Kalooki Nights. He has written two non-fiction books Roots Schmoots: Journeys among Jews, an exploration of his own Jewish roots, and Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime, an analysis of comedy and its function.

City of Oranges by Adam LeBor

Bloomsbury

Through the stories of six families — three Arab and three Jewish — City of Oranges illuminates the underlying complexity of modern Israel

Jaffa — famed for its orange groves — was for centuries a city of traders, merchants, teachers and administrators, home to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. That is, until the founding of the state of Israel, which was simultaneously a moment of jubilation for the Jews and a disaster — the Naqba — for the 100,000 Arabs who fled Jaffa in 1948. Through the stories of six families — three Arab and three Jewish — Adam LeBor delicately illuminates the complexity of modern Israel, going beyond the media stereotypes and political rhetoric to tell a moving human story. From the Christian Arab car-dealer, the Jewish coffee-and-spice merchant and the Arab baker who makes bread for the whole community, to the Jewish schoolgirl who befriends an Arab drug dealer, these people strive to make a life in a country born of conflict.

Adam LeBor was born in London and read Arabic, International History and Politics at Leeds University, graduating in 1983, and also studied Arabic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He worked for several national British newspapers before becoming a foreign correspondent in 1991. Since then he has travelled extensively in eastern and central Europe and covered the Yugoslav wars for the Independent and The Times. Currently Central Europe Correspondent for The Times, he also contributes to the Economist, Literary Review, The Nation, the Jewish Chronicle, Condé Nast Traveller and the Budapest Sun newspaper. His books have been published in nine languages.

The Earl of Petticoat Lane by Andrew Miller

Heinemann

When Henry Freedman met Miriam Claret in 1929, he was a barrow boy and she was a milliner's apprentice.

In 1953, they were presented to the Queen.

In this remarkable and moving work of narrative non-fiction, Andrew Miller tells the story of his grandparents, the children of Jewish immigrants to the East End, tracing their fortunes from Poland and Lithuania to their arrival in Regent's Park and the world of Astors and Parker-Bowles. It is a story of immigration and Anglicisation, of the significance of race and class and language and accent in our country, of how it has been possible for people in this country to change themselves and their lives.

Born in London in 1974, Andrew Miller studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton. He worked as a television producer before joining the Economist to write about British politics and culture. He is currently the magazine’s Moscow correspondent. The Earl of Petticoat Lane is his first book.

Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky

Chatto & Windus

In 1941, Irène Némirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, Suite Française would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece

Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, Suite Française falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion and make their way through the chaos of France; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. Némirovsky's brilliance as a writer lay in her portrayal of people, and this is a novel that teems with wonderful characters, each more vivid than the next. Haughty aristocrats, bourgeois bankers and snobbish aesthetes rub shoulders with uncouth workers and bolshy farmers. Women variously resist or succumb to the charms of German soldiers. However, amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.

Irene Némirovsky conceived of Suite Française as a four- or five-part novel. It was to be a symphony - her War and Peace. Although only two sections were finished before her tragic death, they form a book that is beautifully complete in itself, and awe-inspiring in its understanding of humanity.

A Woman in Jerusalem by AB Yehoshua

Halban Publishers

A suicide bomb explodes in a Jerusalem market. One of the victims is a migrant worker without any papers, only a salary slip from the bakery where she worked as a night cleaner. As her body lies unclaimed in the morgue, her employers are labelled unfeeling and inhuman by a local journalist. The manager of human resources is given the task of discovering who she was and why she had come to Jerusalem.

As the image of this once-beautiful dead woman begins to obsess him, the manager turns this duty into a personal mission – he is no longer just saving his company’s reputation by trying to discover her identity and assure her of a dignified funeral. He is now restoring her not only to her family and country but also to common humanity – whilst at the same time conquering the hardness of his own heart.

A. B. Yehoshua is one of Israel’s pre-eminent novelists. In the words of the Booker judges he ‘combines uniqueness and universality and reminds us irresistibly of the joy of reading.’

Born in Jerusalem in 1936, Yehoshua is the author of The Lover, A Late Divorce, Five Seasons, Mr. Mani, Open Heart, A Journey to the End of the Millennium, The Liberated Bride and a collection of short stories, The Continuing Silence of a Poet. He has been awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his lifetime’s creative contribution to Israel, the National Jewish Book Award in the US and the Jewish Quarterly–Wingate Prize in the UK.

For more information on the shortlisted books or to contact the judges,

email Geraldine D’Amico at Geraldine@jewishbookweek.com

or call 020 7446 8772

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