Notes from Around the Web: Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

  • The National Jewish Book Award winners were announced this week. As were the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award honorees.
  • This past Wednesday, the Jewish Book Council hosted its latest Twitter Book Club chat online. Up for discussion: Elizabeth Rosner’s Blue Nude. It was a busy day at the office for me, but I was able to drop in during the lunchtime chat. Want to know what was discussed? Read the transcript.
  • Recognizing authors’ names in Josh Lambert’s Tablet books column is getting to be a habit! This week, I was happy to see mentioned Ida Hattemer-Higgins, whose debut novel, The History of History, “features an American Jewish woman in Berlin with a hole in her memory and a growing fascination with the wife of Joseph Goebbels, living in a city in which the legacy of Nazism insinuates itself in magically concrete ways.” I’ve known about this book for several years through the author’s posts on the Poets & Writers Speakeasy online discussion forum, where I have been known to chime in, too.
  • Speaking of familiar names, imagine how excited I was to see a certain short-story collection headlining the weekly Jewish Book Council newsletter as “recommended reading”!
  • Jewish Ideas Daily let us in on Ladino.
  • We lost musical genius and spiritual leader Debbie Friedman this week. Among the many tributes, with reflections on Debbie’s contributions to the experience of Jewish prayer, is this lovely one, from Linda K. Wertheimer.
  • Coming soon: the Jerusalem Season of Culture.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    New Jewish Children’s Book Writing Contest

    In response to numerous comments from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents and allies about the lack Jewish children’s books that include GLBT families or characters, we are launching the Keshet Jewish Children’s Book Writing Contest.

    Keshet is seeking manuscripts of 800 – 1000 words for a fictional Jewish children’s picture book with a GLBT family or characters. We’d like the story to be of interest not just to GLBT families but to the larger Jewish community, so the storyline needs to be engaging, funny, or surprising in some way, not didactic. The story should have a clear, clever and interesting narrative plot with universal themes and Jewish content. We’re not looking for a story about what it’s like to live in a gay Jewish family, but rather a book with one or more members of a GLBT Jewish family as the central character(s) in a great story. We welcome stories that show ethnic diversity as well as diversity of family structure.

    The manuscripts will be evaluated by a committee of parents, educators, children’s librarians, and a children’s book publisher. The author of the winning manuscript will receive a prize of $250 and the possibility of having their book published.

    There is no entry fee, and the deadline is April 15, 2011. For more information, please visit (via @femministas)

    Jewish Literary Links: Shavua Tov Edition

    Normally, I post my link compilations on Friday morning, before Shabbat. But this week, I made so many worthy discoveries after I prepared the Friday post that I am compelled to present a second batch. Let’s consider it the “Shavua Tov” edition!

  • First, as mentioned here yesterday, The Forward has announced a poetry contest commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
  • Also from The Forward (via the Arty Semite blog): three poems by Alicia Ostriker.
  • And The Forward‘s Arty Semite blog has also given us this gem: an update on author Imre Kertész. NB: Benjamin Ivry’s post is in English, but if you understand Hungarian or French, you’ll also be able to appreciate the video.
  • One reason I found the Kertész post so striking is that I’ve recently finished reading Ruth Franklin’s sharp new book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, which features a chapter devoted to the Hungarian Nobel literature laureate. Franklin will be interviewed by James Young at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on Wednesday, January 12. Details about the event can be found online.
  • Big thanks to the Jewish Women’s Archive for compiling the #JWA100, a list of more than 100 Jewish women who tweet.
  • Finally, on Twitter and elsewhere, many of us are sending healing thoughts to Debbie Friedman, the acclaimed Jewish songwriter who has been hospitalized in serious condition. See the URJ homepage for more information. And, returning to The Forward, you can read about efforts and prayers in her honor.