Mazel Tov to Arnost Lustig

A heartfelt “Mazel Tov” to Arnost Lustig, the latest recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize. (Learn more about Arnost and about the prize here; thanks to The Literary Saloon for posting the news.)

I had the honor of participating in one of Arnost’s fiction workshops at the 2004 Prague Summer Program. It was during my time in Prague as well that I read his extraordinary novel, Lovely Green Eyes. If you are going to read just one of his books, read that one.

ArtScroll Announcement

I’ve been busy the past several days attending (and reporting on) the 2008 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in New York City. Now that I’m catching up with myself (and the mail that accumulated because although I came home each night to a Manhattan apartment I had zero time to read through anything), I’ve had a chance to read through the latest Jewish Week.

And I was intrigued to find there an announcement from ArtScroll welcoming Mrs. Miriam Zakon to the company as Acquisitions Editor. ArtScroll added this note: “We invite authors whose works are on a high literary and Torah standard to contact Mrs. Zakon with proposals and manuscripts at zakon(at)artscroll(dot)com.”

I’m always interested in learning more about publishers that focus on books of Jewish interest, and I hope to share more discoveries like this one here on the blog in the future.

Sami Rohr Prize Nonfiction Finalists Named

Faithful readers of my other blog may recall my enthusiastic mention of last May’s ceremony celebrating the fiction winners for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The Jewish Book Council, which administers the prize, has now selected five finalists for the prize in nonfiction (the genres alternate).

The nonfiction finalists are Ilana M. Blumberg, for Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman Among Books (University of Nebraska Press); Eric L. Goldstein, for The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race and American Identity (Princeton University Press); Lucette Lagnado, for The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World (Ecco); Michael Makovsky, for Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (Yale University Press); and Haim Watzman, for A Crack in the Earth: A Journey Up Israel’s Rift Valley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

To learn more about the prize, which awards emerging authors in the field of Jewish literature who have written books of exceptional literary merit stimulating interest in themes of Jewish concern, please click here.

Hebrew Literature in Translation

A few years ago, when I had the good fortune to discover the works of Israeli writer Orly Castel-Bloom, I had the corresponding luck to find a terrific resource for information on other Israeli authors, too: the “Hebrew Authors” directory on the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature Web site. Check it out the next time you want to learn more about books originally published in Hebrew (or if you want to start such an exploration). I use it, for example, to check when I’ll be able to locate Castel-Bloom’s new work in translation, as well as to deepen my acquaintance with other authors I come across.