Submission deadline:
May 30, 2016
Awards Ceremony:
October, 2016

Contact Us:

Call for Submissions 2016

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards will again acknowledge excellence in writing on Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors.

The 2016 awards program will accept submissions of books on Jewish subjects or with significant Jewish content published between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. The submission deadline is May 30, 2016.

Last year more than 60 submissions were received from Canadian publishers. Some of the books recognized by the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards went on to receive other major awards, including a Governor General’s Literary Award for My Shoes Are Killing Me by Robyn Sarah, and a National Jewish Book Award in the United States for Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule by Beverley Chalmers.

For more information see the Submission Criteria and the Award Categories below or contact
Edward Trapunski, Chair


Press Release
Jewish literary awards to go on despite Koffler hiatus


List of benefactors, donors and supporters 2015
How to make a donation

Our Mission

The recognition of its literature and culture helps keep the Jewish community in Canada strong and vibrant. To nurture that vitality, a group of prominent writers, editors and scholars has founded The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards.

The goal of the Awards is to recognize the finest books with Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors in a variety of genres.

Adjudicated by a distinguished panel of writers, editors and scholars, the new Awards do more than reward winning authors with a cash prize and a moment in the spotlight. They build pride, not only in the individuals being honoured, but in the creative achievements that reflect Jewish themes and ideas.

The Awards will enrich and promote Canadian Jewish writing and culture, enabling us to better understand our collective past, our shared present, and the world of the future.

The Awards were founded in 2014 when the Canadian Jewish Book Awards were suspended. They had honoured some of Canada’s most respected writers, including novelists Anne Michaels, David Bezmozgis, Morley Torgov, and Nancy Richler; and non-fiction authors Peter C. Newman, Morton Weinfeld, Charles Foran, and Alan Levine. Scholars who have been honoured include Michael Marrus, Harold Troper and Norman Ravvin. The awards had also recognized the accomplishments of newcomers to the Canadian Jewish literary scene – young authors launching their first books, Canadian writers making a mid-career turn to Jewish topics, and fine writing that had not yet garnered the attention it deserved.

The CJBA were started in 1987 by the late Adam Fuerstenberg, who served on its jury for 27 years and also on our first jury in 2015.

As in the past year, the 2016 Awards will be sponsored and administered through the generosity of York University's Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, with the co-sponsorship of a consortium of other programs, including Western University's Holocaust Literature Research Institute.

The 2016 gala Canadian Jewish Literary Awards ceremony will be held in October, 2016 at York University, in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. Members of the public are invited and welcomed. Admission is free.

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.

History: non-fiction works about the Jewish historical experience Youth

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.

Submission Criteria

We invite you to submit any books on a Canadian Jewish theme or on a Jewish topic by a Canadian Jewish author. The prizes will continue the tradition of recognizing the best books on Jewish subjects by Canadian authors, who need not themselves be Jewish.


  • Books written on subjects with Jewish themes or with significant Jewish content
  • Books written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
  • Books written in English or French
  • Books published between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016
  • Books with a 13 digit ISBN, including E-books
  • Books with Jewish content written by non-Jewish authors are eligible
  • Graphic books are eligible

Previously submitted titles, new translations and reissues are not eligible.

How to Submit

Five copies of each book. For E-Books: Three free downloads and two hard copies

Completed submission form

$40 entry fee per title submitted. Cheques should be made out to: York University – Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies and mailed to:

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards
Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies
763 Kaneff Tower
York University,
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3

Submissions must be received by May 30, 2016. Early submission is encouraged and appreciated. Send submissions to:

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards
Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies
763 Kaneff Tower
York University,
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3


Submission Form

Judges 2016

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.

Sara Horowitz: Former Director and current Acting Director of the Golda and lsrael Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies Professor of Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at York University, and former President of the Association for Jewish Studies

Andrea Knight, co-publisher of the recently launched New Jewish Press, publishing program of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the former managing editor of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs and has twenty-five years experience as an editor and publisher.

Michael Posner: Award-winning author and playwright and former reporter for the Globe and Mail.

Lesley Simpson, author of five children’s books and the winner of a Canadian Jewish Book Award for Yuvi’s Candy Tree. She is a former reporter for Canadian daily newspapers and currently a PhD candidate.

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 it is to write

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

Download the speech.

In Memoriam – Adam Fuerstenberg

Adam Fuerstenberg, who died January 3, founded the Canadian Jewish Book Awards in 1987. He was a tireless and life-long supporter of Canadian Jewish culture, progressive social values, the Yiddish language and the State of Israel. He served as a juror for the 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards.

The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards is establishing an award of merit in his memory.

The Lord loves justice and forsakes not His saints; they are preserved forever.

– Psalms 37:28

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Benefactors 2015

Gerald Sheff and Shanitha Kachan Charitable Foundation

The Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation

The Linda Frum and Howard Sokolowski Charitable Foundation

The Asper Foundation

The ShaRna Foundation

Judith Ghert

Supporters 2015

Sol Hermolin

Lony and Ruth Gropper

Vivian Felsen

Penny Rubinoff

UJA Federation Committee for Yiddish