Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sana Krasikov Wins the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

I just received the following press release from the Jewish Book Council!

Sana Krasikov Wins the $100,000
2009 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
for her debut short story collection,
One More Year

Gala Awards Ceremony to be held in May at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

Press Contact:
Adam Teeter, Publicist, 404-409-4103, adam@jewishbooks.org
Geri Gindea, Director, Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, 212-786-5158, geri@jewishbooks.org

New York, NY – The Jewish Book Council is proud to announce that Sana Krasikov is the 2009 recipient of the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for emerging writers of Jewish literature. Krasikov wins the Prize for her debut short story collection, One More Year (Spiegel & Grau), based on her demonstration of a fresh vision and evidence of future potential to further contribute to the Jewish literary community.

The Sami Rohr Prize is the largest monetary prize of its kind in the Jewish literary world, and one of the largest literary prizes worldwide. In 2006, in celebration of Sami Rohr’s 80th birthday, his children and grandchildren inaugurated the Sami Rohr Prize to honor his lifelong love of Jewish literature. The Prize considers fiction and non-fiction in alternating years.

In her celebrated debut, Krasikov has written a book of exceptional literary merit that stimulates an interest in themes of Jewish concern. Krasikov’s canvas is not unfamiliar to recent readers of American Jewish literature: portraits of the new Russian and Georgian immigrants to the United States in the post-Cold War period. The judges felt that what Krasikov does with these ingredients is startlingly fresh: subtle considerations of moral conundrums, of futile hopes, and the calculus of lost possibility. And all of this in clear, short, careful prose which renders it intensely and powerfully readable. “Her characters are often alienated and confused, but her stories are always clear and precise, because Krasikov deeply understands her characters' aspirations, fears, and stubborn passion for survival. Her elegant, revealing narratives imbue their fragile, vulnerable lives with an imposing dignity,” said Allen Hoffman, one of this year’s fiction judges.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "There are stories you read, absorb and think you've forgotten until you re-encounter them - when the world they've created blooms again to full size in memory, like a sponge dropped into water. So it is with Sana Krasikov's stories.”

The Jewish Book Council is also pleased to announce Dalia Sofer, author of The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco), as the 2009 recipient of the $25,000 Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award. Sofer’s work is a compulsively page-turning first novel that tells of the travails of one Jewish family in the period after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The judges felt that the novel’s facets sparkle as brightly as the gems that lie at its heart; its hard surfaces invite us to gaze into the subtle stirrings in their depths.

The presentation of the Sami Rohr Prize and the Choice Award will be held in May at a gala Awards Ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.

This year’s judges are Jeremy Dauber, Atran Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia, and Director of the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies; Allen Hoffman (aforementioned), Member of the English faculty, Permanent Writer-in-Residence and Acting Director of The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University; Daisy Maryles former Executive Editor, Publishers Weekly; Jonathan Rosen, novelist and Editorial Director of Nextbook; and, Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish and Comparative Literature at Harvard.

After spending his early years in post-WWII Europe, Sami Rohr moved to Bogota, Colombia, where he was a leading real estate developer for over 30 years. He currently lives in Florida and continues to be very active in various business endeavors internationally. His philanthropic commitment to Jewish education and community-building throughout the world is renowned. This Prize is a gift by his family to honor his love of Jewish writing, and to help encourage the continuation of the magnificent legacy of the People of the Book.

The Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit organization devoted exclusively to the promotion of Jewish-interest literature. Through an ever-growing list of projects and programs, including the National Jewish Book Awards, the Jewish Book NETWORK, and the quarterly publication Jewish Book World, the Jewish Book Council serves as a catalyst for the reading, writing, and publishing of books of Jewish interest.

For more information about the Jewish Book Council and the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature visit jewishbookcouncil.org.

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