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 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards (CJLA) recognize the finest books with Jewish themes and subjects by Canadian authors in a variety of genres. They 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 CJLA does 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 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards are inspired by Adam Fuerstenberg z”l who founded the Canadian Jewish Book Awards in 1987 and was on the inaugural CJLA jury in 2015.
The 2016 Awards are sponsored and administered through the generosity of York University's Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies. The 2016 gala Canadian Jewish Literary Awards ceremony will be held on October 30, 2016 at York University, in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. Members of the public are invited and welcomed. Admission is free.
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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.
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).
On Jewish writing
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
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